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WWII in Color
February 11, 2009 2:46 PM   Subscribe


 
Undead dogfoot zombies... attack!
posted by KokuRyu at 2:57 PM on February 11, 2009


Even though we're not accustomed to seeing many color images from WWII, it seems to me that these are more approachable than the WWI color images. The WWI pictures that have been linked here a few times have an other-worldly quality to them. Of course, there's so much more photography from WWII in general, that the imagery of that war is more familiar. Great links!
posted by briank at 3:03 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love the style of these old film stocks. So saturated.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 3:13 PM on February 11, 2009


THE WACS ARE EVERYWHERE EVERYWHERE I TELL YOU!
posted by delmoi at 3:31 PM on February 11, 2009


I love all these colour photographs of the days of yore. It seems much more "real" and relatable when the photos are in colour. At least for me who was born in the late 80's.
posted by Sargas at 3:46 PM on February 11, 2009


Ah, these are excellent. thank you.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 4:00 PM on February 11, 2009


These are excellent pictures, but also I find colour photographs of earlier periods, and I hope this is the right word, confusing.

The colour brings to them a seeming closeness and immediacy, more like how we experience our world now, and less like the experience of the world derived from black and white photographs of the same period. I find this one particularly powerful in that respect, and it seems like other people feel the same way about the photographs as a whole.

But I think that the closer history comes to depicting the then in the same ways as the now, the less distance we have to remind - or even require - us to seek and create an interpretation of that history. It's not a complaint really, just a more 'keep the guard up' kinda statement, cause some day these really will be 'history' in the sense we have no proper tools from our daily lives to understand that time. I suppose it is like saying that even if we had CBS reporting from the Pnyx, we shouldn't mistake it for Congress.

Urh, overthinking before bedtime, never good, but I hope that makes sense.

(PS When does science invent a recolourfier? I'm waiting...)
posted by Sova at 4:57 PM on February 11, 2009


The colour brings to them a seeming closeness and immediacy, more like how we experience our world now, and less like the experience of the world derived from black and white photographs of the same period. I find this one particularly powerful in that respect, and it seems like other people feel the same way about the photographs as a whole.

Huh. WWII never really felt that "distant" to me, in fact, when thinking about history WWII always kind of felt like the "birth" somehow of the "modern" world. Like I would find the 1930s an alien and historic world, but I would feel more at home in the 1950s. But what's even stranger to think about is how that was only a 20 year difference, like the difference between 1989 and 2009, a time span that's actually comprehensible to me.

And the on the other hand, you have people running around in the 1950s who were born in the 1880s and such, which is kind of strange to think about.
posted by delmoi at 5:03 PM on February 11, 2009


you have people running around in the 1950s who were born in the 1880s and such,

My wife's grandmother came to Iowa from Indiana in a covered wagon..... before she passed away at 105, she had flown from coast to coast in a 737.

My brain hurtz.
posted by drhydro at 7:38 PM on February 11, 2009


The Imperial War Museum has a big collection of photographs online here. Just enter Colour under Colour / B&W and Second World War under Period. Most images aren't all that large, and all watermarked though, but if you really like one you can buy a large copy (both digital and print).
posted by bjrn at 2:15 AM on February 12, 2009


there's a popeye in them pictures. a real live popeye!
posted by lapolla at 2:26 AM on February 12, 2009


Sova wrote "(PS When does science invent a recolourfier? I'm waiting...)"

Have a look at this paper (with examples) from 2005 - I am not sure how they have progressed since then but certainly the results are impressive to my eyes.
posted by rongorongo at 6:22 AM on February 12, 2009


I love to search archives like these for pictures of my dad but I've never been successful. I'm sure one of these days I'll find something, I just hope it's soon.
posted by tommasz at 7:26 AM on February 12, 2009


Oh, holy... in black and white, these types of pictures are both gruesome and powerful, but in color... it's almost too much. You can see blood spatter on the pants of soldiers at a concentration camp. The reality of the situation is way more palpable than in b/w... and yet, more surreal, since the colors aren't quite right and it totally, TOTALLY looks like ketchup.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:05 AM on February 12, 2009


(Or maybe that's something wrong with the film - another photo has those red/orange marks in all the wrong places. Or maybe it's ketchup.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:08 AM on February 12, 2009


The thing I notice about these old color photos is how human the soldiers look. It's such a contrast from photos of soldiers today, who have so much body armor that the individual is obscured. The soldiers (and civilians) from "back then" were just people, taken from their ordinary everyday lives and put into extraordinary circumstances. It's the common and shared humanity that strikes me.
posted by Katherine Kimber at 9:02 AM on February 12, 2009


I just started reading Rick Atkinson's The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 . I've read a lot about World War II, but I was shocked by this:

Someone was killed an average of every three seconds from September 1939 to September 1945.

A quick calculation based on Wikipedia's figures--62,000,000 combined Axis and Allied civilian and military fatalities--seems to confirm.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:34 PM on February 13, 2009


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