Des poilus photographient la guerre

TitleDes poilus photographient la guerre
Publication TypeWebsite
Corporate AuthorsArchives of the Ain
Place PublishedArchives of the Ain

A site created by the archival authority of the French Ain department, World War I Soldiers Photographing War is a small but thoughtful collection of photographs taken by World War I soldiers from the department. The collection is thematically subdivided into prewar and mobilization, the front, the homefront, and the postwar period, each introduced by a brief essay. Another section introduces the individual photographers. All site pages and texts are in French.

Full Text

“Until the end of the nineteenth, photographic techniques were complex: the very long time required for posing did not allow taking photographs of scenes as they happened, the delicate manipulation of certain products required knowledge of chemistry, the instability of photosensitive emulsions required preparing them on the spot and developing the image immediately after taking the photograph. Everything changed in the 1860s-1870s, with the invention of simpler and less costly procedures, and lighter and easier to handle cameras, which allowed photography to spread. The soldiers of the Great War used two principal procedures: glass plates or flexible film. The negatives of the photographs presented in this exposition were created mostly with plates of glass, covered with an emulsion of silver bromide gelatin. These dry emulsions were sold ready to use. One could store them and wait several months between exposition and development. [...] The extreme conditions of the front and the use of non-professional material explains, however, the very unequal quality of the photographs.”

Entry by GWC Assistants / Work by GWC Assistants : 

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