World War I Color Photos

From the Western Front in World War I
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Recommend World War One Color Photos

An important announcement

Why a Bandwidth Tip Jar?

 

World War I.... who would have thought there were original color photos of WWI? This site contains hundreds of photos taken by the French in the last two years of World War One.

A couple of good books of photos in WWI can be found here.

Frontline trenches

Frontline trenches

Wonder what his thoughts are...

Observation post

Demolished building

Demolished building

Intently looking at... what?

Intently looking at... what?

Soldier, woman, baby, village setting

Soldier, woman, baby

Another building destroyed

Another building destroyed

Notice the wires

Notice the wires

Ahh... another barber

Ahh... another barber

The facade looks OK, but look through the doorway

Look through the doorway

A view of a Medieval building from a trench

 Medieval building

Sometime in late 2004, while looking at the blog, Vodkapundit – a great blog, btw – I came across an external link he had to some interesting photos of World War I. What made them of interest was that they were in color! I saved them to my hard drive, and I’m glad I did... the site that had them up ended up removing them.

So I decided to go looking for others on the web. I came across the site, Gallica, bibliothèque numérique de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, There I found all of the images you see here, but, alas, the text was all in French, and the last time I spoke French with any frequency or fluency was 45 years ago! So, initially, I had to use an online translator to get the English text.

Later, Gert in Canada, Didier in Belgium and David in France helped with translating the original French wording which appears below  each photo. Any translations errors which remain I must lay sole claim to.

Given the number of images, I have categorized them as follows:

Although color photography was around prior to 1903, the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, patented the process in 1903 and developed the first color film in 1907.  The French army was the primary source of color photos during the course of World War One.

Senegalese and other French African colony soldiers

Senegalese and other French African colony soldiers

Haircut anyone? Close to the front line.

Haircut anyone? Close to the front line.

Troops at rudimentary fortifications

Troops at rudimentary fortifications

Anyone able to read the sign?

Thanks to Didier in Antwerp for the information here.

A church building after shelling

A church building after shelling

Notice the camoflage netting.

Notice the camouflage netting

Notice there appears to be little fire damage.

Notice there appears to be little fire damage.

Street shot showing damage to buildings

Street shot showing damage to buildings

Outside their bunker cleaning

Outside their bunker cleaning

More shots of damaged buildings

More shots of damaged buildings

Taking a break

Taking a break

Guardhouse

Guardhouse

Looks to be another guardhouse in the background

Looks to be another guardhouse in the background

Appears to be cooler weather, given their dress

Appears to be cooler weather, given their dress

Rail car under an overpass

Rail car under an overpass

Damage done by artillery to church

Damage done by artillery to church

There appears to be no damage to this building.

There appears to be no damage to this building.

This image is almost idyllic, isn't it?

This image is almost idyllic, isn't it?

Soldier standing beside guard station.

Soldier standing beside guard station.

Soliders resting beside a wall.

Soliders resting beside a wall.

Note the building is propped up.

Note the building is propped up.

Field tents as barracks or air hangars?

Field tents as barracks or air hangars?

At a command post of some sort, I would guess.

At a command post of some sort, I would guess.

What appears to be an officer's tent.

What appears to be an officer's tent.

Town entrance with a drawbrige

Town entrance with a drawbrige

The pause that refreshes

The pause that refreshes

Another village scene.

Another village scene.

A field hosptial or medical facility

A field hosptial or medical facility

This rail car got hit pretty heavily.

This rail car got hit pretty heavily.

Another shot of the building with the well.

Another shot of the building with the well.

Chldren amidst the destruction

Chldren amidst the destruction

Chaplain and other French officers

Chaplain and other French officers

Artillery placements?

Artillery placements?

An officer or staff member vehicle?

An officer or staff member vehicle?

Shredded trees and destruction

Shredded trees and destruction

More destroyed buildings... and irony.

More destroyed buildings... and irony.

An interior shot of what may have been a church or castle

An interior shot of what may have been a church or castle

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