Photos Re-Envisioning History in Color

Photos Re-Envisioning History in Color

Almost everything we know from history is in black and white. We are so used to seeing everything in the past sans color, but recently a Reddit group called 'Colorized History' was discovered that has changed the way we can view it. It's a group of talented individuals who get permission to colorize old photos. They take political figures such as Abraham Lincoln to actors like Clint Eastwood and turn simple black and white photos into dimensional colorized works of art. Along with the photos listed, each of their links have a plethora of images they have converted as well.


Paul Edwards | Edvos


Dana Keller | History in Color 

Clint At Home

Paul Edwards | Edvos


Mads Madsen | Zuzah Gaming 


colorized-history-1-fstoppers-sarah-williamsDana Keller | History in Color 

colorized-history-2-fstoppers-sarah-williamsPaul Edwards | Edvos

Col. Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr.Mads Madsen | Zuzah Gaming 
colorized-history-4-fstoppers-sarah-williamsMads Madsen | Zuzah Gaming 


colorized-history-6-fstoppers-sarah-williamsJordan J. Lloyd | Photo Chopshop

colorized-history-7-fstoppers-sarah-williamsJordan J. Lloyd | Photo Chopshop

colorized-history-8-fstoppers-sarah-williamsJordan J. Lloyd | Photo Chopshop

[via TwisterSifter]

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Sorry. That is no feat instead it's futile. Those shots were taken in B&W because of technical or financial limitations or (!) because the artist deliberately decided to do so. They offer a notion of how people back in those times perceived them. They also convey a vivid depiction of how things looked on photos back then.

Repainting old B&W images is like repainting the Mona Lisa depiction or say "improving" a Van Gogh painting. Who would do that ? To me, recoloring images shows a lack of understanding of the underlying concept and it shows a severe lack of respect to the original work of the artist. Therefore it's purely condemnable.

In other words: 'No more fun, people! Let's get serious!'

You're clearly welcome to express your opinion, and some of your points have some merit, but I disagree with you. I think this is a fun exercise and remarkable, it brings another dimension to classic images. Certainly not designed to take away from the original artists work, but to pay homage to the period. I like it.

that was a dumb comment ENTICING HAVOC. color is ALWAYS RICHER. Color bring a different emotion then BW. ART move forward by the way, reinvented and create
why closed minded, if there room for improvement why not.
ps. I been seen your comment on here. what is this reddit? stop trolling and take picture

Sorry to break it to you, but priceless art owrk undergo maintenance to revive faded color all the time.

I get what you means and to some extent it IS true that if we went on to color ALL BW films ever shot it would be very 1984 of us...

But this isn't the case here so relaxe.

People back in those times didn't' perceive things in black and white. They merely had to shoot them that way because of technical limitation (that you mention). With the color added they are probably much closer to how the people actually experienced them at the time.

What about the actual art of coloring old B&W images? I'm sure the original photographers, those that are still alive, don't mind people paying tribute to their work in a new way to possibly get more people to appreciate the events photographed.

Something Warhole did to some degree.

I mean, does this guy believe Marily Monroe looked like this :


Apparently don't know your history of colorizing photographs.

"In an attempt to create more realistic images, photographers and artists
would hand-colour monochrome photographs. The first hand-coloured
daguerreotypes are attributed to Swiss painter and printmaker Johann Baptist Isenring, who used a mixture of gum arabic and pigments to colour daguerreotypes soon after their invention in 1839"


that was a dumb comment ENTICING HAVOC. color is ALWAYS RICHER. Color bring a different emotion then BW. ART move forward by the way, reinvented and create
why closed minded, if there room for improvement why not.
ps. I been seen your comment on here. what is this reddit? stop trolling and take picture

very cool!

Do more! Do More!

Please. Stop.

How about you don't be a troll and use complete sentences, this isn't reddit.

It's cool. Some of the photos look good in color, and some of them have a weird effect from adding in the color, where the BW looked more correct before. Some of the photos have better emotion in BW. It looks good though, the colors look natural. (except the BW lighting with added color for the photos 1950s on up)

Von Wong's picture

I think this is fabulous :)

christian lacasse's picture

good work jaxn!

Thanks so much!

hey i think they look great. enticinghavoc i tend to agree with some of what u say, But at the same time paint over the bw to recolour them is a art in it self so with what your saying no to one art and yes to another art! is art recolour is just a different type of art.

Reynardt Badenhorst's picture

Would have been cooler if you had 'Before & After' examples.

Martin Melnick's picture

Did this quickly during my lunch break. It's not great, but even with a bit of work, it is amazing how much more relevant, archival photographs tend to feel when in color (despite the fact that I love back and white photography).

How do you go about chosing the color of the door?

This is where I don't think colorization should be used for "archival" purposes unless we have a way of telling the original color from the BW film... which I doubt.

Martin Melnick's picture

I agree. This was merely for fun, not authentic reproduction purposes. Id say the one way it is still relevant is that regardless of trim color accuracy, it does more to identity the viewer with the material.

Problem is with internet and kids that have no idea what film is, we might be 10 years away from them believing color pictures were always there...

It would be sad to forget about our technological past (in the very long run..)

Of course, if we don't know the colour of the door, and there is no clue from a B&W photo, does it matter if it is shown in a colour that it may not have been? I'd be willing to bet that it wasn't dark grey as shown in the original photo.

I have been fortunate enough to be a digital painter since 2006 (early adopter) and the art form has always been a strong area of discussion.

Benjamin Lundberg's picture

I'm a little on the fence about whether I like the idea of doing this or not. It kind of reminds me a little of George Lucas going through and revamping the Star Wars series which was met with some criticism. Why improve something that is already great I guess can be some peoples response?? Technically they are really good, though a few look a little on the cool color temp side, might just be my screen calibration. I did browse through a few of the links and saw a Requests section which leads me to believe they offer this service to people who want they old photos colorized which I think is a really great idea. :)