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.

Photos supplied by Getty Images.