Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Old, far-off, unhappy things": French color photographs from the First World War



These photos have appeared on the internet a few months ago, but I just came across them again while looking for a book title for L. They depict soldiers of the French army during the 1914-1918 war, and are genuine color photographs, not tinted or colorized prints.

Some background on early color photos can be found here, as well as many more of these photographs here.

There is something arresting and spooky about the immediacy of these pictures, like poring over the ghastly photos of Jonestown from 1978. The traditional black and white photos of The Great War have a distant, iconic look to them; they don't pull the viewer in, or cause as much of a reptile-brain response in the viewer.


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