Colorized History

Colorized History

Updated Jun 06, 2014 at 12:40PM EDT by Brad.

Added Aug 16, 2013 at 06:40PM EDT by Don.

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About

Colorized History are historical black and white images that have been colorized using image manipulation software.

Origin

Prior to the advent of image manipulation software, black-and-white photographs were colorized using hand-coloring[1] techniques with watercolors, oils, crayons, pastels or other paints applied to the original image surface. Computerized colorization came with the proliferation of digital image processing with cheaper computers in the 1970s.[2] On July 25th, 2002, the earliest known photo colorization tutorial was posted on the photo manipulation blog Worth 1000.[10]

Spread

On November 1st, 2003, the BlackMagic[3] photo coloring software was released for computers running the Microsoft Window operating system. On October 22nd, 2010, Redditor chadathin posted his colorized photograph of a man and his wife from 1939 (shown below, left) to the /r/pics[6] subreddit. Before it was archived, the post gained over 1,300 up votes and 200 comments. On April 17th, 2011, Redditor Moishaha submitted a colorized portrait of former United States President Abraham Lincoln (shown below, right) to /r/pics,[4] where it garnered more than 3,900 up votes and 410 comments prior to being archived.



On December 27th, the /r/colorization[7] subreddit was launched by Redditor Hulde, which is dedicated to black-and-white photo colorization. On December 2nd, 2012, Redditor zuzahin created the /r/ColorizedHistory[8] subreddit, which features user-submitted colorized historical photos. On May 23rd, 2013, Redditor mygrapefruit posted a colorized version of an auto wreck photograph from 1921 (shown below) to the /r/pics[5] subreddit, receiving upwards of 54,000 up votes and 1,600 comments in the first three months. On June 7th, Redditor mygrapefruit submitted a colorized photograph of a street in Saratoga Springs, New York from 1915 to the /r/HistoryPorn.[9] Within two months, the post accumulated over 7,200 up votes and 260 comments.



Notable Examples



D-Day, World War II

On June 6th, 2012, in celebrating the anniversary of the Allies’ Invasion of Normandy, LIFE Magazine[11] released a collection of colorized photographs captured by American wartime photographer Frank Scherschel in France during the days leading up to and after the D-Day. As the majority of the photographs had never been published before, the LIFE collection of colorized D-Day photographs quickly went viral after spreading through online news sites and WWII-related communities.[12][13][14]



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