Colorized History: 10 Famous Black And White Photos In Color
Civil War powder monkey
Original photograph by Mathew Brady
Mathew Brady was one of the best known early American photographers, a man who was one of the originators of photojournalism. Covering the American Civil War, he and his assistants covered the ground and sea aspects equally. While his series of pictures of the dead soldiers at Antietam are his most famed, this picture of a young powder monkey – a child who carried bags of gunpowder from the armory to the guns on deck – is striking as it highlights just how young the soldiers were. The colorization by Reddit user malakon, using the known colors of the uniform, are a bit on the bright side, however, this is a great reflection of what the scene would likely have looked like if shot with early color film, given the lighting technology of the time.
Original photograph published in the New York Times
One of the most famed disasters of all time, the crash of the Hindenburg has been captured on film and in photos. This is one of the lesser-publicized photos of the event, published in the New York Times, but Dana Keller has colorized it, creating a striking display of terror. The colorization brings out the intensity of the flames, as well as highlighting the fallout of glowing embers that are lost in the black and white original. The colorization also brings out the onlookers in the foreground, highlighting the panic as they run for cover.
Original photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt
Alfred Eisenstaedt is well known for his picture of an American sailor kissing a young woman in Times Square on V-Day, but his earlier work is much more chilling. A Jew who served in the German Army in World War I, he turned to photography, with picture subjects including Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. The colorization of the Joseph Goebbels picture – taken immediately after Goebbels was informed the photographer was Jewish – brings out the sheer disdain and piercing hatred of one of the most notorious war criminals in history.
Original photograph by Toni Frissell
Originally photographed by Toni Frissell, and colorized by Reddit user HansLucifer, this picture of an abandoned boy in front of what used to be his house shows just how isolating war can be at times. The colorization helps to better display the mix of emotions on the face of the young boy – confusion, sadness, yet with a slight bit of hope. It is a great representation of the emotions of the British populace as the war dragged on.
Rescued inmates at concentration camp
Original photograph by Ralph Forney
In black and white, photographs of the horrors of Nazi Germany are quite striking. Putting them in color deepens the level of emotions that are displayed in the photos, and makes it even more clear just how devastating the atrocities of Nazi Germany were. Taken at the Wöbbelin concentration camp by United States Army Private Ralph Forney, and later colorized by Reddit user HansLucifer, the despair of the one inmate and the catatonic state of the other are heightened by the addition of color. Using the known shadings of the uniforms, both of the inmates and the military clothing in the background, the colorization adds great depth to the photograph.