World War I Photos in Colour

In 1917, World War I was dragging into its fourth bloody year. On the Western Front, mechanized warfare and a tactical stalemate had claimed millions of lives.

1917 was also the tenth year that the Lumière brothers’ Autochrome color photography process was commercially available. One of the earliest color technologies, the Autochrome process, used microscopic grains of dyed potato starches to capture hues in a dreamy, pointillist mosaic. Though unsuited for fast-moving action and combat, Autochrome was used by photographers to document the quieter moments away from the front, capturing the rest and reflection of soldiers engaged in a seemingly endless and senseless war. Mashable has all the pictures!

1917

French machine gunners set up a position amid ruins during the battle of the Aisne in France.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

June 7, 1917

Soldiers look at the 45-meter-deep crater left by the detonation by the British of 21 tons of explosives underneath German positions near Messines in West Flanders. One of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, the blast killed 10,000 soldiers and was heard as far away as Dublin.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

An Algerian worker in Noyo, France after the retreat of the Germans.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

A worker from Indochina in Soissons, France.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILL/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

French soldiers from Africa prepare a meal on the Western Front.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE?GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

A girl holds a doll next to soldiers’ equipment in Reims, France.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

French soldiers of the 370th Infantry Regiment eat soup during the battle of the Aisne.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

A French officer inspects the barbed wire around French positions in Soissons.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

French soldiers dig through the rubble of a destroyed building in Reims, France.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

French soldiers and horses in the cloister of the Abbey de Saint-Jean-des-Vignes in Soissons, which was heavily damaged by artillery fire.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

Sept. 1, 1917

Doctors, nurses and medical personnel in front of field hospital 55 in Bourbourg, France.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

June 22, 1917

Senegalese Bambara soldiers serving with the French Army in Balschwiller, Alsace.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

A camp in Egypt of workers from the British Chinese Labour Corps recruited to participate in the Middle East campaign.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917 Senegalese soldiers in the French Army line up for lunch in Saint-Ulrich, France.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917 A French outpost near the front in Hirtzbach, Alsace.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

June 19, 1917

A group of Swiss border guards behind a fence between Switzerland and France.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

Sept. 3, 1917

Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire started by the German bombing of Dunkirk, France.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

June 26, 1917

A French soldier peers out from a position on the Western Front in Alsace.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

June 16, 1917

French soldiers in Hirtzbach, Alsace.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

An Algerian guard on a bridge in Pommiers, France.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

A news vendor in Reims, France.

IMAGE: APIC/GETTY IMAGES

Sept. 6, 1917

French soldiers read newspapers at a kiosk in Rexpoede, Calais.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

April 1, 1917

A French soldier eats a loaf of bread in Reims, France.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

September 1917

French soldiers stand on a narrow-gauge railroad in an artillery-ravaged battleground in West Flanders.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

Wounded soldiers from the battlefield near Laffaux at Saint-Paul Hospital in Soissons, France.

IMAGE: FERNAND CUVILLE/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

1917

A French military cemetery on a hillside in the town of Moosch, Alsace.

IMAGE: PAUL CASTELNAU/GALERIE BILDERWELT/GETTY IMAGES

Do you have a keen eye for a photo? Here at The Sheffield College we have just had two brand new photography studies installed in our Centre for Creative Industries! Take a look at the range of Photography courses on offer, now!

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