We all have seen a black and white photo and probably thought to ourselves, “this is cool, but it feels like because it’s in black and white, it’s separated from our world.” Photography has captured time periods and allowed others to view what they might not have been able to see in-person. From the images of the Civil War, WWI and WWII, the Great Depression, and more significant historical events, we have been able to look at what it was like in that time period. But, imagine if the black and white images of history were colorized. Colorization isn’t a new practice, as many people have hand painted images, but in this process, the original copy was ruined. Now with the modern technology of photoshop, colorization artists are able to duplicate a black and white photo and clean up any blurs or damage from age or a poor photo shot. The process of photo colorization requires intense research to make sure that every detail is historically accurate. The color of items like signs, clothing, badges, and pins spanning decades needs to be accounted for before coloring a photo. Colorizing artists go through sources like diaries, government records, old advertisements, and even consulting historical experts to get the colors right. With this in mind, people are now able to see black and white images and give us a new perspective and can relate as we are able to see the image in color. With color we are also able to see details we might have missed in black and white photos.
Original B&W photo of soldiers in the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division landing at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944
Colored version of wading onto Omaha Beach (Credit: Marina Amaral)
Original B&W of American troops in a boat before landing on Norman beaches June 6, 1944
Colored version of the American troops (credit: Marina Amaral)
A Brazilian colorist by the name of Marina Amaral, has made herself known through her colorized images of various time periods. Most recently, she has colorized a photo taken during WWII in the D-Day invasion (1944) for the battle’s anniversary: June 6th.
Amaral created this work to have an impact on people as she states in this quote:
“I love coloring photos that I know will have an impact on people,” Amaral told the Washington Examiner. “D-Day is a very important date and I always wanted to do a series to celebrate the anniversary.”
“Every completed work has gone through long and in depth research, and is supported by the opinions of experts in each particular area if necessary, to faithfully reproduce the original colors and atmosphere,” her website says.
Amaral said coloring the photos took her three days and nights, and added that she has seen positive responses from people.
I think that this work is so cool. The dedication and meticulous work put into colorizing these photos is absolutely amazing. Each image has its own unique qualities, but overwhelmingly they allow someone to look at more of the detail in an image. This is a must-see, definitely. I would recommend this to anyone, but especially a history buff. To see these images in color gives you a new way to look at the event taking place in the image. The aspects of the work that stand out to me the most is the colorized faces. In a black and white image it’s almost as if a person doesn’t look real. With color, you can really see more of a human warmth. In the second image, you could see the hands and profile of a soldier, and with color you can see more of his facial expression.
Overall, colorization of photos is something that really interests me. The new wave of colorizing artists is really awesome as we can now see more images come to life. With colorized images, we can also solve the mysteries of history. I think it’s important to understand and see the details in an image that will allow us to connect with what is in a photo. However, I’m not saying that we wouldn’t be able to do this with black and white, it’s just that we’d be able to really get a more specific view with color.
If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, click the video link below: