Photos of animals in World War One: a French soldier with a pet fox

Photography is probably the main media shaping our perceptions and feeling of the Great War time. We may find some videos, we could read important books or diaries generated by a raw realism, but the five years of the World War I represent somehow a pressing debut of photography in the world social history, and not only during the hectic moments of the battles and assaults. Think about the role of photography in the militarized civil affairs and industries, think about the women and kids portrayed during the Great War. A picture like the one above is a kind of buffer between the military use of photography and its employment in a civil context. Forgetting for a while the strange presence of the small animal (probably not so strange for the time), we should rather take into consideration the person who shot this image. The English Romantic poet William Wordsworth once wrote about "emotions recollected in tranquillity". He was describing his poetry, but we could apply those words to this scene framing a French soldier (we see only his helmet hiding his face), the vague gaze of the fox and the caress provisionally joining the two protagonists. Just behind them some war signs appear...

We took the picture from 
Great War Primary Document Archive:Photos of the Great War, a rich source of perfectly tagged and elapsed copyright images that we are linking beside and from where we are drawing again in the future.