Apropos of Nothing: Colourised Historical Photographs

This month I have been mostly marvelling at colourised historical photographs. Hardly a new phenomenon, particularly on the internet. But it recently struck me just how much of a difference it made to the photos adding that one ingredient: colour. Because we all know that grainy black and white photographs happened in The Past. In the ‘Before’ of ‘Before and After’. ‘BC’, somehow. But colour photographs could have happened now. It’s that much easier to imagine you’re looking at the thing happening in front of you.

I fell down a fine sequence of rabbit holes, but am only adding a fraction here, because I wanted to show the b/w next to the colour as much as possible, and give credit to the photographers, and get a selection from all around the world and not just the UK and the US… but, you know, life is short. You get the idea.

Click on the pictures to link to their websites.

On coming home to discover his family dead

Colourised by valdigtmycketfarg

The ever-terrifying Joseph Goebbels

Colourised by Klimbim


15-year old Dorothy Counts crossing the US colour line, 1957

Colourised by Sanna Dullaway


Amiens Cathedral with sandbag reinforcements, 1918

Colourised by Wolfgang Wild & Jordon J Lloyd


Chief Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill

Colourised by Doug Banks


Boxing, 1913

Colourised by Pillowy_Mounds


And of course, it’s the perennial favourite…

“Hello ladies, it’s… Nikola Tesla!”

Colourised by Dana R Keller


More about Dana Keller at: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/05/inside-the-colour-factory-my-chat-with-a-photo-colourist/

And… why?

Why am I getting all excited by these? I think it’s possibly because this process, of going through something that’s old and grainy and drying to drag the sense of ‘present day’ out of it, is basically what I try to do when adapting traditional music.

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