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The colors of catastrophe - Rediscovered autochrome photography of the First World War

The colors of catastrophe

Rediscovered autochrome photography of the First World War

The First World War in Colour

US$ 59.99
The devastating events of the First World War were captured in myriad photographs on all sides of the front. Since then, thousands of books of black-and-white photographs of the war have been published as all nations endeavour to comprehend the scale and the carnage of the “greatest catastrophe of the 20th century”. Far less familiar are the rare colour images of the First World War, taken at the time by a small group of photographers pioneering recently developed autochrome technology.

To mark the centenary of the outbreak of war, this groundbreaking volume brings together all of these remarkable, fully hued pictures of the „war to end war“. Assembled from archives in Europe, the United States and Australia, more than 320 colour photos provide unprecedented access to the most important developments of the period – from the mobilization of 1914 to the victory celebrations in Paris, London and New York in 1919. The volume represents the work of each of the major autochrome pioneers of the period, including Paul Castelnau, Fernand Cuville, Jules Gervais-Courtellemont, Léon Gimpel, Hans Hildenbrand, Frank Hurley, Jean-Baptiste Tournassoud and Charles C. Zoller.

Since the autochrome process required a relatively long exposure time, almost all of the photos depict carefully composed scenes, behind the rapid front-line action. We see poignant group portraits, soldiers preparing for battle, cities ravaged by military bombardment – daily human existence and the devastating consequences on the front. A century on, this unprecedented publication brings a startling human reality to one of the most momentous upheavals in history.
  • “…History and photography buffs will devour this extraordinary collection of nearly forgotten color images from the war that was to have ended all wars.”

    —, Los Angeles
  • “…an entirely new view of that bitter conflict.”

    — Aura Magazine, Manchester
  • “…a rich, vibrant record of the Great War.”

    — Total Politics, London
  • “From time to time the reader picks up a book, and has trouble putting it down. This is certainly one of those! The colour photographs present an amazing insight into a world and time that many of us have only ever seen in black and white. Although rare colour images from the time are well-known to historians, this is perhaps the first time such a comprehensive book has been published after gathering together so many from archives across the world. Anyone who has any interest in the First World War will find this title a worthwhile addition to the home library. Five out of five stars!”

    — Mark Simner Blog, London