The Flying Fortress

WWII in Living Color

Posted in Aesthetics by seraphimish on April 30, 2011

Typically many of the pictures we see from the past are in grays and sepias, making it hard for our brains to relate these pictures to real life.  Instead they feel like some abstracted past that even though our parents’ and grandparents’ memories can remember them in all their glory, there’s less and less that lets post-baby boomers see the world for how it was.  Sure plenty of pictures from the time have gotten colorized to have them approach more realistic tones, but there’s nothing compared to the original.

Enter Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, a Russian accredited with pioneering color photography.  Using a convoluted series of glass plates with colors, Gorskii and later photographers such as Alfred T. Palmer were able to take some pictures with crisp color and detail that approaches high definition.

Gorskii’s pictures shown here detail Russia’s people, nature, and glory around the Great War.  But to stick more toward our diesel love, Palmer’s pictures here show some striking images chronicling World War II and many of the workers who built the path toward the Allies’ victory through valor and hard work.  I, for one, find the true color of these pictures to bring about a human component to the people of the time that you simply can’t feel with the normal black and whites.  These aren’t just characters in a history book.  Seeing their skin burnt from being out in the sun, the dirt on their faces, it makes you feel the burden they carried as well as the life they went home to at the end of the day.  These are important pictures to our past.  Hopefully having this truer window into the past can give us better respect for the times where piston engines and oil pumps reigned supreme.

via Reddit

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