Autochrome stereoviews of the First World War

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A collection of autochrome stereoviews of the First World War (1914–1918). Less than one-thousandth of the images from the Great War are colour images1. Most were produced by the photography unit of the French army, the Section Photographique et Cinématographique de l’Armée (SPCA). The photographers Paul Castelnau, Fernand Cuville and Albert Samama Chikli made images by using the autochrome colour process at various locations on the front. The archives of the French army do not contain any autochrome stereoviews.

The only photographer known by name for his autochrome stereoviews of the First World War was the German photographer Hans Hildenbrand (1870–1957). He was, with permission of the German army, active as an accredited photographer on the Western Front in France in 1915. Reproductions of his autochromes were published as postcards and paper card stereoviews. His stereoviews were called Chromoplast Bilder. Two sets of six colour stereoviews of the Champagne front exist. Later, Hildenbrand moved to the battlefields of Alsace. The autochromes he made there were also published as postcards and stereoviews2.

All other war autochrome stereoviews were made by amateur photographers, whose names remain unknown. Due to the higher cost of autochrome plates, it can be assumed that the stereoviews were mainly made by officers.

Glossary: autochrome


  1. Walther, P. (2014) The First World War in Colour, p. 16. ↩︎
  2. De kleurenfotografie van Hans Hildenbrand (2012). Via: ↩︎

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