Titanic in Color: Photos of One of the Largest Passenger Liners of Its Time Rendered in Full Color

titanic in color ship

To this day, tales of the Titanic continue to captivate and enthrall people, despite the fact that we are many generations removed from that awful tragedy. The RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that famously sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on the fateful day of 15 April 1912. The luxury ship collided with an iceberg during its maiden voyage, originating from Southampton, UK enroute to New York City, USA.  It was one of the largest passenger liners of its time and was ironically considered by many to be unsinkable. Because of the disaster, the Titanic tale quickly became legend, fixating the public’s imagination and inspiring many popular books and movies. Since the discovery of its wreckage in 1985, interest in the ill-fated liner slightly dwindled. Now a century after its sinking, the Titanic remains an enduring and enigmatic subject.

Thomas Schmid is one such person that has been mesmerized by the tale of this fabled ship that was once pronounced unsinkable. Through his work, we are able to travel back in time to see images of the luxury liner, not as they were taken, but rendered in full color.

titanic in color accommodations

Thanks to Schmid’s work, we can now see the Titanic, not only in the perspective of historic monochromatic images, but in its complete grandeur as the photos come to life with the process.

titanic in color first class cabin

Schmid shares his intimate relationship with the Titanic story.

“My interest about the Titanic began in my early childhood. I believe I build the first 3D model of Titanic at the age of 6 out of Lego bricks.  Ever since I was fascinated of the ship and her tragedy. Approaching the 100th commemoration of her sinking requests about color footage came in. Of course there was none! But thanks to the computer we could help out. ”

titanic in color sitting area

The idea behind the colorization is to show the Titanic the way it looked, outside and inside. The hues were carefully chosen according to references from the builders’ materials and paint instructions. The project is ongoing, as there are many pictures of the ship.

titanic in color grand ballroom

Aside from the colorization and some dust or scratch restoration, the original black & white photographs are left untouched. Nothing has been added for any aesthetic reason whatsoever. The pictures can be viewed side-by-side with the original black and white images.

The Titanic in Color Project is part of the Titanic 3D Open Source Project. It will very soon have its own website.

titanic in color sitting area

See the finished images of this work in progress here. For more brilliant examples of colorized black and white photos, check out this collection.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.