From The Library Of 'Life'

Remembering D-Day With Rare Color Photos

History books tend to suggest that the world was black-and-white before 1950. Photos by Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans paint a stark picture of the Depression. Famed war photographer Robert Capa almost single-handedly forged the monochrome mental imagery of the D-Day landings at Normandy.

But, although it was expensive and somewhat rare, color photography did exist at the time.

  • Rare color photos taken by Life photographer Frank Scherschel show quiet scenes in the days before and after D-Day in 1944; Scherschel did not record caption information for each individual image, but together they tell an unusually vivid story of a typically black-and-white era.
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    Rare color photos taken by Life photographer Frank Scherschel show quiet scenes in the days before and after D-Day in 1944; Scherschel did not record caption information for each individual image, but together they tell an unusually vivid story of a typically black-and-white era.
    Courtesy of 'Life'
  • Soldiers search ruined homes in western France after D-Day.
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    Soldiers search ruined homes in western France after D-Day.
    Courtesy of 'Life'
  • An American Army chaplain kneels next to a wounded soldier in order to administer the Eucharist and last rites.
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    An American Army chaplain kneels next to a wounded soldier in order to administer the Eucharist and last rites.
    Courtesy of 'Life'
  • Captured German soldiers, France, 1944
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    Captured German soldiers, France, 1944
    Courtesy of 'Life'
  • Throughout the battle of Normandy leading to the liberation of Paris, Scherschel also captured Allied troops with French citizens, as well as street celebrations and parades.
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    Throughout the battle of Normandy leading to the liberation of Paris, Scherschel also captured Allied troops with French citizens, as well as street celebrations and parades.
    Courtesy of 'Life'
  • France, summer, 1944
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    France, summer, 1944
    Courtesy of 'Life'

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One set of 1930s- and '40s-era color transparencies from various photographers owned by the Library of Congress has gone viral around the Web. And, today being the anniversary of the landings at D-Day, Life has published a set of photos along the same surprising lines: In the days before and after the landings at Normandy, photographer Frank Scherschel captured scenes around France in color. See more on Life's website.

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