We are used to seeing the First World War in black and white, but it was the first conflict captured on camera in colour.

first world war in colour
French soldiers rest in the grass after lunch on the Western Front in Aisne, France, in 1917. Colour photo by Fernand Cuville.Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images

The Great War saw many technological innovations that changed the face of war, such as aircraft, tanks, Zeppelins, and chemical warfare. These advances in technology were not limited to the weaponry, but also extended to photography, explains Matthew Butson, Vice President of Getty Images' Hulton Archive.

The Autochrome process, patented by the Lumière brothers in 1903, involved potato starch, lamp black and shellac on a glass plate. The long exposure times meant action scenes were not possible without significant blurring so Autochromes produced during the Great War were largely more static group shots.

The Autochromes in this gallery were taken by Fernand Cuville, a photographer in the French army and the quality of the imagery and the natural colours were down to his meticulous preparation – the smaller and flatter the dyed potato starch grain, the more light would be let through.

first world war in colour
A French soldier stands next to a table with German shells and an aircraft propeller, along the Western Front in Reims in 1917. Colour photo (Autochrome Lumière) by Fernand Cuville.Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images
first world war in colour
Two French soldiers from Africa heat up a meal on an outdoor fireplace made from brick on the Western Front in 1917. Colour photo (Autochrome Lumière) by Fernand Cuville.Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images
first world war in colour
A soldier is shaved by a barber in a French military encampment in Soissons, 1917. Colour photo (Autochrome Lumière) by Fernand Cuville.Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images
first world war in colour
The town of Soissons in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France was taken over by German troops twice during the First World War and heavily damaged by artillery fire. Colour photo taken in 1917 by Fernand Cuville.Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images
first world war in colour
Three French soldiers stand with their truck in front of a heavily damaged building in Aisne. Colour photo taken by Fernand Cuville in 1917.Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images
first world war in colour
French machine gunners take position in the ruins of Bucy-le-Long during the battle of the Aisne in 1917. Colour photo by Fernand Cuville.Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images
first world war in colour
Graves of French soldiers killed at Laffaux on May 14, 1917 are seen in this colour photo taken by Fernand Cuville in Soissons, AisneGalerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images

Photos supplied by Getty Images.