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Photography

German aerial photograph of the Citadel of Lille, France, c. 1916, showing the star-shaped citadel designed by Vauban.
Text:
No. 145; Citatelle Lille
Reverse handwritten message:
Couldn't get any good pictures of Lille when I was there but here in Germany I find their official aeroplane photos are pretty fair.

German aerial photograph of the Citadel of Lille, France, c. 1916, showing the star-shaped citadel designed by Vauban.

Image text

No. 145; Citatelle Lille



Reverse handwritten message:

Couldn't get any good pictures of Lille when I was there but here in Germany I find their official aeroplane photos are pretty fair.

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Relatively small, portable mass-produced cameras were introduced in the late 19th century and made possible the wealth of images from World War I. Most of the photographs taken were black and white. Most color images from the war are hand-tinted, but the Lumière brothers had patented Autochrome Lumière, a technology that used colored grains of potato starch, in 1903, and genuine color photographs from the war exist. The images are startling and beautiful.

Aerial photography was particularly important during the war to identify troop and artillery positions and movement, and to document trench lines. One of the uses of two-seat reconnaissance or observation planes was to photography enemy positions. The reconnaissance plane took its photographs, and returned quickly for development and examination of the images. Reading the photographs, identifying what they revealed, was a specialized skill.

Photography is an other technology.