Some images appear to be staged to accentuate silliness; while others are posed with almost comical self-seriousness. Removed, momentarily, from the brutality and absurdity of war, these souvenir portraits capture moments of camaraderie and humanity.
The majority of the pictured soldiers are Germans, the rest from France, the United States, Belgium and they range in time from the beginning of World War I to the end of World War II.
Since the late 19th century, photo studios used fake airplanes, tanks, automobiles, trains, and other scrapped military props for their photoshoots. These photographs were meant to be souvenirs for servicemen to send home to friends and families.
The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was about 40 million: estimates range from around 15 to 22 million deaths and about 23 million wounded military personnel, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history.
The total number of deaths includes from 9 to 11 million military personnel. The civilian death toll was about 6 to 13 million. The Triple Entente (also known as the Allies) lost about 6 million military personnel while the Central Powers lost about 4 million.
At least 2 million died from diseases and 6 million went missing, presumed dead. About two-thirds of military deaths in World War I were in battle, unlike the conflicts that took place in the 19th century when the majority of deaths were due to disease.
Nevertheless, disease, including the 1918 flu pandemic and deaths while held as prisoners of war, still caused about one-third of total military deaths for all belligerents.
(Photo credit: Collection of Christopher B. Steiner / Mashable.com).