The Great War Restored

Revitalising the Autochrome

 

Many people consider The Great War to be a monochrome war - a battle fought long ago in black and white. But in actual fact a large number of original colour autochromes do exist, taken during the conflict by military photographer Paul Castelnau alongside Fernand Cuville, Isidore Aubert, Jean-Baptiste Tournassoud and Albert Samama-Chikli.

Although surviving in original colour, these images remain low resolution due to the pointillist nature of the autochrome process, which builds up the image via thousands of tiny coloured dots. These photographs are now over a hundred years old have become faded and tinged yellow with the passage of time, yet they exist like slivers of amber locking their immediacy and vibrancy inside.

Through the use of manual restoration and AI technology in conjunction careful colour-grading and luminance re-balancing, I have sought to bring these remarkable images back to vivid life. It is worth remembering that these are not colourised images and no colour has been added. I have merely used the technology at my disposal to remove the yellow staining and to correct and intensify the colours which already exist within them.

I hope they bring a little immediacy and connection to a war that was meant to end all wars.

Kind regards

BabelColour

March 2020

The Restored Photographs