World War One in Color

Rare, vibrant color autochromes documenting the soldiers and battles of the First World War.

A French section of machine gunners has taken position in the ruins during the battle of the Aisne, France, 1917 (autochrome) by Fernand Cuville (1887-1927)


Who would have thought there were original color photos of World War One
While color photography existed before the 20th century, the Lumière brothers patented the process in 1903 and developed the first colour film in 1907. The autochrome was by far the most commercially successful system but there were others, including the Paget color plate system
Bridgeman is proud to present color photographs of this tumultuous time in our history, captured by photographers including Australian war photographer Frank Hurley (1885-1962) and Fernand Cuville (1887–1927), who served in the French Army. During the First World War the French army regularly used color photograpy to document their experiences. Catch a rare glimpse of soldiers in the trenches, civilians, aircraft and destroyed buildings. 
Nieuport biplane, Aisne, France, 1917 (autochrome)by Fernand Cuville (1887-1927)


Trees destroyed during battle, Chaulnes, Somme, France, 1917 (autochrome), Fernand Cuville (1887-1927)


Impressionistic visions of war
Perhaps most remarkable are the soft and impressionistic visions of war by Fernand Cuville. Recording life in the French army, and the destruction of town and village life caused by German shelling, the autochromes have an artistic quality that distances it from the horrific realities of war. See all our World War One autochromes
A little girl playing with her doll; two guns and a knapsack are next to her on the ground, Reims, Marne, France, 1917 (autochrome) Fernand Cuville (1887-1927)


Group of Algerian soldiers following the retreat of the German army, Noyon, Oise, France, 1917 (autochrome) Fernand Cuville (1887-1927)


Soldiers of the 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment behind the front line barricades at Nalin during the war against the Ottoman Empire, Palestine, 17th January, 1918 (colour Paget plate) by Frank Hurley, (1885-1962)


Find out more

View all color photography of World War One on the Bridgeman website, available for licensing.

For a more indepth search on this period of history, please visit our World War One Centenary page.

Contact our Sales Team with any queries, including accessing materials not yet online.


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