LIFE Archive | Pacific Theater in Color (Part I) | A Continuous Lean.

LIFE Archive | Pacific Theater in Color (Part I)

Dec 16th, 2008 | Categories: Americana, LIFE | by Michael Williams

The LIFE photo archive has been a welcome distraction for me. I have been mining the vast collections since they went live a few weeks ago, and so far the most difficult decision has been exactly where do to start. So far I found some mind-numbingly great groups of photos and might just need to send Flickr Find on vacation.

The first collection I present to you is WWII Pacific Theater operations in color. This is the real life Navy-ism (sans irony of course), in beautiful color and high-resolution. Click the photos to get all of the real-deal 1940s details.

6wii

2wii

3wii

4wii

7wii

1wwii

5wii

9wii

8wii

Comments: 18

18 Comments to “LIFE Archive | Pacific Theater in Color (Part I)”

  1. Brad
    on Dec 16th, 2008
    @ 11:50 AM

    I’m a youngster, so I have the right to say this: it’s crazy that reality looked like the set of a 1950′s television show. I swear if you could fast forward each of those photos a little bit (especially the first one), you’d end up with nothing but Navy dance competitions complete with musical numbers and perhaps a knife fight for good measure.

    Pretty rad.

  2. wayne pate
    on Dec 16th, 2008
    @ 1:01 PM

    When you look at these photos it’s hard to imagine that a war was going on. Jean Paul Gaultier will be all over these!

  3. valerie
    on Dec 16th, 2008
    @ 2:09 PM

    i have to completely agree with brad. the first thing i thought of when i saw these was “musical”. i wonder if the photos from today’s wars could ever look this chipper.

  4. abh1wordpress
    on Dec 16th, 2008
    @ 5:16 PM

    The one shot of the men in the bar, with the pin-up, there is a skinny dude in the corner, wearing a white t-shirt. He looks just like the late Montgomery Clift.

  5. Sam
    on Dec 16th, 2008
    @ 5:48 PM

    Guys, it seems really insensitive to comment on how “chipper” everyone looks. From the seabees t-shirts I can see at least several of these were from the Battle of Tarawa in which about 6,000 American and Japanese died. Something to think about. I don’t mean to be rude, but I just needed to say that.

  6. Michael Williams
    on Dec 16th, 2008
    @ 6:02 PM

    I’m sure no one is intentionally trying to disrespect what happened in the Pacific. War is hell.

    ACL

  7. jacob
    on Dec 16th, 2008
    @ 8:06 PM

    i am also a youngster, and although i’m obviously sickened by the violent subtext behind the situation, i think its really beautiful to see such fraternity, humor, and dignity in everyday scenes from people who were consciously going through hell. it’s what makes America so incredible.

    notice how i only capitalized America? SUBTLETIES!

  8. wayne pate
    on Dec 17th, 2008
    @ 9:21 AM

    To be clear. There is no way in hell I would ever make light of the war considering my grandfather took part in it. I was surprised to see in at least these photos how relaxed the men appear to be and the beauty of the photography and landscape. Further more, you get a sense of there disposition and say to yourself “hell yeah, that’s why these guys got the job done”.

  9. sam
    on Dec 17th, 2008
    @ 10:06 AM

    Remember that WWII media and documentation was as sculpted/scripted and managed as either of our gulf misadventures. Most of this kind of photogrpahy was meant to evoke the very feelings we are talking about here: laconic grit, sullen swagger and an esprit de corps. Not that these feelings are/were fake, just that they were also useful.

    On top of that my grandfather used to talk about taking and clearing a beach so the cameras could be set-up to record the “official” landing of the main force.

    And man those denim shirts in the barber photo are fly as hell.

  10. Brad
    on Dec 17th, 2008
    @ 12:37 PM

    For the record, I, too, was not making light of the sacrifices made by any of these men.

    I am glad they looked like they were having a good time. You don’t really see that these days.

  11. Tony
    on Dec 18th, 2008
    @ 6:49 PM

    The link to the baseball one is wrong. It links to the truck driver photo. Not the full size baseball pic.

  12. Michael Williams
    on Dec 19th, 2008
    @ 12:25 PM

    I fixed the link. Thanks for the heads up.

    ACL

  13. Arturo
    on Dec 20th, 2008
    @ 7:14 PM

    Michael Williams,

    My brother brought these spectacular images to my attention as the fellow sitting under the “barber shop” sign (2wii) bears a striking resemblance to our still-living father who fought in the Pacific theater during WWII.

    Is there any chance that additional information is available?

    Thanks!

  14. Michael Williams
    on Dec 21st, 2008
    @ 12:38 PM

    Here is the link to the original: http://tinyurl.com/a7jbop

  15. Chris
    on Dec 21st, 2008
    @ 1:14 PM

    Thanks for the tip. These pictures are really amazing.

  16. Tyler
    on Dec 21st, 2008
    @ 10:30 PM

    Does anyone else think the bar in that one picture is incredibly cool.
    Looks very current, especially the little two lights above the painting.

    They had electricity back then? huh.

  17. David V
    on Mar 6th, 2009
    @ 10:54 AM

    What always grabs me about these color images from the past is how, suddenly, they seam more immediate. They don’t have the same “old photo” quality that a B/W image from the time gives you because , I imagine, most of us were raised as post war children and were used to seeing this as from the past.

  18. Fabio
    on May 1st, 2009
    @ 7:53 AM

    As a child born in ’84 I always enjoy a sneak of the daily life’s of people living in earlier times then I here in America. One thing I must say that, I do feel a bit melancholic about how drastically style changed. I know it will always continue but I just have some nostalgia about missing old world glamour and sophistication.