The London Blitz, In Color

We have written before about the fact that earlier historical eras seem remote from us in part because we see them (assuming we see them in photographs at all) in black and white. The absence of color creates a distance that can be hard to bridge. Thus, it can seem revelatory when one finally sees in color views that before had been available only in shades of gray.

Today, the Sun published a series of color photos of London, taken during the blitz in 1940-41. It is not clear exactly where they came from, but the Sun says they were shot in color and have not been seen before. As usually happens, the color photos suddenly make historical events more real to the viewer. Here are a few examples. London after a heavy bombing:

Another post-bombing shot, with a bus that has plunged into a hole in the street:

And, finally, a morning scene as civilians clear out the debris from the previous night’s bombing raid:

There is more at the linked site. It is striking how seeing events in color brings them into the ambit of what we think of as contemporary history.

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