'Les Champs de Bataille de la Marne'


Original Color Photographs

3 cover pages from the 12 part magazine series


By the time the Great War broke out in 1914, it had been quite feasible for several years to take true color photographs. The results were satisfactory, but the process was still rather unwieldy as exposure times were long and the price tag much much higher than for simple black and white photos. Yet even still, there are quite a number of oiginal color photographs that have been preserved up to the present day.

On the other hand, the news media and the publishing world did not take to publishing color photos all that readily. The reasons for this probably lie in technical dificulties inherent in making color seperation plates and completing a print-run in an acceptable time-frame. Printing true color reproductions rather than flat color must also have been more expensive. Yet by the time of the Great War, french magazines especially had been publishing color illustrations for many years. 'l'Illustration' was well known for its two-page spreads and 'Le Petit Journal' with it's eye-catching front page color illustration had a weekly print-run in the tens of thousands. Even children's magazines were printed in color.

Yet even so war-time color photographs were but rarely published. An exception is the serialized history volume or magazine called 'Les Champs de la Bataille de la Marne' (The Battlefields of the Marne). This publication was published in 12 bi-monthly installments starting in October 1915. It contained original color photographs of the battlefields and damaged villages and buildings of the Marne area along with many fine views of French and British army units. The editors seemed particularly interested in the colorful uniforms of North African and Colonial troops. Interesting are several color shots of British and Indian Army soldiers.

The photos were taken after the battle of the Marne by a professional photographer living in the Marne et Seine region, Monsieur Gervais Courtellemont. There are some 240 color photographs altogether in the 12 installments, a number of which are reproduced in the links below. This publication was later followed by a similar serial edition called 'Les Champs de Bataille de Verdun'. Other war-time magazines by the same publishers were 'J'ai Vu', 'La Baionnette' and 'La Guerre Aerienne'.


see also original color photographs from the same publishers and photographer
'les Champs de Bataille de Verdun'


advertisements for 'les Champs de Bataille de la Marne'


Collection of Illustrations

Page 01
Page 02
Page 03
Page 04
Page 05
Page 06
Page 07
Page 08
Page 09
Page 10


All scans were graciously provided by Olivier
from his extensive collection of Great War magazines
see his site : Magazines of the Great War (a French site)



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