History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

03 May, 2014

World War Two in (Canadian) Colour

A selection of colour photographs made during and just after World War Two by Canadian Army photographers. The majority were taken on Kodachrome film--significant, as Kodachrome is by far the most stable colour film, resulting in colours that are just as vibrant today as in 1943 (none of these have been enhanced in the digitization process-- I have seen several from this collection in person!). 

The photographs range from staged to very staged, but the view they offer of the kinds of pictures the Canadian government wanted is fascinating in itself. Colour film was still quite rare, as well, and it is clear that most of the shots were chosen to maximize its impact. 


 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Canadian soldiers and Dutch civilians in a field of wild cabbage. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Airmen prepare for a flying mission in Italy. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Albertan tanksman play a (carefully arranged) card game, France. Source





 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Men firing or preparing to fire a mortar. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence /  Library and Archives Canada

Canadian tankmen cooking while on manoeuvres. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Italy--this only needs the logo to become a Kodak ad. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Canadian nurses in North Africa. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

An injured soldier strolls with a nurse in North Africa. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Canadians view a church damaged by Allied bombs in France. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Basic training at a park in Ottawa. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Canadian soldiers with a captured machine gun. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Canadian soldiers choosing apples in Italy (the caption doesn't say why). Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

A Russian officer inspecting Canadians. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

A young soldier returns home for Christmas (there are twelve variations of this picture-- straight photojournalism it is not). Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada





 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

A Canadian soldier with girls from Armentieres, France (there are a few variations of this one, too). Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Paratroopers in action. Source




 Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada

Mortar firing in Italy at night. Source



2 comments:

anantk said...

Kodachrome photos are the best. Always makes the past feel more real.

Anonymous said...

RE: Russian Officer Inspecting Canadians

That russian officer must be marshal Georgy Zhukov.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgy_Zhukov

Here is another photo from the same period
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zhukov_1945_E010750410-v8.jpg

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