When we summon images of visual recorded history from memory, what our minds recall are black and white photographs of people or events. History, it seems, in the earlier recorded forms, is always monochromatic. That pre-conditions our minds to see things and personalities from olden times always strictly in black and white. Sometimes we even have difficulty realizing that the world has, since the beginning of time, always been in color. So when we see black and white images we have been so accustomed to, processed into color, we kind of get thrown off balance. It takes a certain amount of recalibrating our visual sense to appreciate these colorized images. Credit this to a Reddit group’s work called Colorized History that made it their mission to change many iconic images and the way we view history and its main players.
It is a collection of gifted individuals who obtain consent to colorize old photos. Political pillars such as Abraham Lincoln, giants of Science like Albert Einstein, infamous characters like Joseph Goebbels, and Hollywood icons like Clint Eastwood all get the colorized treatment in the Reddit site along with other photos.
Each of the artists in the site have links that bring you to work. The Reddit site says that, “Colorized History is dedicated to high quality colorizations of historical black and white images, and discussions of a historical nature.” Apparently, with the volume of pictures being submitted they are “currently not seeking new contributors,” however it goes on to say that “if you have any specific subjects or commissions, please message the mods.”
The key contributors are a combination of amateur as well as professional colorizers that bring momentous and notable photos alive through vibrant color. They are all very highly skilled digital artists that use a mixture of historical reference material and a natural gut feel for real color.
It is a fascinating project as it calls our attention to the fact that while the vast majority of historic photographs were in black and white, life has always been in true living color yesterday, today and tomorrow. A footnote to this endeavor is that it has stirred quite some controversy, particularly among purists of early photography.
Many critical comments have been vented online, while supportive and positive posts have appeared on Reddit, where the colorized images were originally hosted. Regardless of opinions on the concept of colorization, technically, the involved skill is excellent. It entails immense vision and understanding of color to achieve such realistic photographs.
Visit Colorized History and have your usual convention of historic images jump at you.