31 March 2021

The War Stereoviews of Paul Piotin

Category: Stereoviews   Tags: Paul Piotin / WWI
The War Stereoviews of Paul Piotin - Black & White Photography and Stereoscopy Blog

A collection of stereoviews created by Paul Piotin between 1914 and 1916. The images show the mobilization and life at the front. Paul will eventually die during the Battle of Verdun in 1916.

This post about the war stereoviews of Paul Piotin is the second post about the collection of Guy Laluque. For an overview of Paul's life and the photos he took before the war, I refer to the first post.

The First World War broke out on July 28, 1914. On August 3, Germany declared war on France. Paul is mobilized for the French army in Chalon-sur-Saône and receives registration number 1170. During his life at the front he creates many war stereoviews.

It's remarkable that the inscription on the box with photos of the mobilization reads: “Guerre Franco-Allemande” (Franco-Prussian war). It shows that in the beginning of the war it was mainly seen by the French as a showdown between the two rivals France and Germany. Later boxes simply have the inscription “Guerre”, followed by the year.

The War Stereoviews of Paul Piotin
Paul sits in the lower left corner with a pipe in his mouth
45 x107mm glass stereoview
Paul Piotin

Paul captures daily life at the front, such as: exercises, his comrades and the positions where he resides. Soldiers were prohibited from having a camera on the front line to prevent espionage and bypass censorship. However, reality was different.

Paul was killed in action during the Battle of Verdun on August 5, 1916. At that time he's a sergeant in the 1st company of the 56th infantry regiment. According to his death certificate, he was "killed by the enemy" near Fort de Souville, one of the forts of the fortress ring around the city of Verdun.

From the archive of the Association 14-18 of Chalon-sur-Saône

The War Stereoviews of Paul Piotin

The War Stereoviews of Paul Piotin
The War Stereoviews of Paul Piotin
The War Stereoviews of Paul Piotin
The War Stereoviews of Paul Piotin
The Stereoviews from WW1
The Stereoviews from WW1

The huge numbers of soldiers who died during the First World War are hard to comprehend. Every fallen soldier was a person with ambitions and dreams. The war brought an early end to many dreams and many names have been forgotten. With these two posts about the life and photography of Paul Piotin, one of them has fallen from obscurity and Guy and I hope that his name and photography will be remembered.