This autochrome is one of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker and pacifist, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.
“A gravesite decorated and trellised by the soldiers of the X. . . regiment of infantry.”
The photo is one of over 1,800 donated to the archives of Seine-Maritime in Rouen and the Université de Caen by the founder of Lafond Printing in Rouen. The sepia photographs have been digitized in their original condition: glued on bristol board with handwritten captions identifying places and scenes. Most of the pictures concern World War I.
You can click on the image to enlarge it.
“A soldier’s grave in the desert marked with barbed wire, stones and a cross,” Middle East, ca. 1916, photographer unknown, via State Library of Queensland Commons on flickr.