Beau Gestes in colour

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Beau Gestes in colour

Post  buistR on Sun 01 Mar 2009, 1:12 am

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The French Lumiere brothers pioneered the art of colour photography from 1907 onwards and there are a number of such photographs in existance showing the French Army in the final period of colourful uniforms immediately prior to 1914. The example attached is of a group of French and Algerian officers of various regiments of the Armee d'Afrique. Standing left to right are Muslim officers of (i) Spahis (native cavalry) in service dress; (ii) Tirailleurs (native infantry) in service dress; (iii) Spahis in full dress; (iv) a Muslim sergeant of Tirailleurs. Seated at left is a French officer of either the Foreign Legion or the General Staff; and two French officers of the Tirailleurs. The white cloaks were regulation only for the Spahis but I guess the others wanted to look as dashing as possible for the occasion.

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Re: Beau Gestes in colour

Post  Admin on Sun 01 Mar 2009, 5:36 am

I'll say this for the French, they have oodles of flair.
A brilliant picture, thanks for posting it

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Re: Beau Gestes in colour

Post  buistR on Sat 16 May 2009, 5:17 am

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Another example of French pioneer colour photography. This time two Algerian tirailleurs (literally "shooters" - say riflemen in British military terminology) c1914.

These native infantry were often known as "Turcos", from their service in the Crimean War when their dress and general appearance supposedly caused confusion with the Turkish allies of the French and British armies. Their uniforms as seen here were identical to those of the French Zouaves except for colour - turcos wore light blue with yellow braiding, zouaves wore dark blue jackets with red braiding plus red trousers. The very wide trousers (white in summer) were actually a single piece garment without divided legs. A four metre long red sash (which had to be revolved into) is not clearly visible here.

The tirailleur regiments were mostly disbanded between 1962 and 1964, at the end of the Algerian War. However one regiment was reformed in the 1990s. The modern regiment's "fanfare-nouba" (band) wears the "tenue orientale" dress shown above on ceremonial occasions, with the addition of white turbans.

The heavy French Army back-packs shown here included cooking utensils, fire wood, spare boots and extra items of uniform. A British officer accompanying the French expeditionary force in Morocco in 1908 expressed admiration for an arrangement which made the infrantryman relatively independent of supply wagons. Of course he didn't have to carry one under the North African sun .....

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