What better time to resurrect this old blog than the present time with the resurrection of some old black and white photos. I can’t turn water into wine…yet… but I can turn black and white photos into colour! I have set myself the daunting challenge of colourizing old photos that are either in the public domain or in my own private domain…one for every day of the year.
The challenge is to keep within the lines. No really, the challenge is to publish daily a photo that has some significance around the day of publication. It could be someone’s birthday or an important historical event. I have set the ball rolling with a colourization of a black and white photo taken by Philip Barraud in 1893. It’s a portrait of the famous composer Peter Tchaikovsky born in 1840 which I published via my twitter account on the 174th anniversary of his birth on the 7th of May.
Who knows what colour that tie really was but he strikes me as a man with excellent sartorial style so mauve it is. I wont go into the pros and cons here of colourizing old photos…we’ll save that for another post. But hey, if you really think this is a great way to ruin classic black and white photos then head over to Twisted Sifter or Bored Panda and get involved in the discussions there. I am trying to maintain a calmness in my old age so I suggest you go there now if you feel you have an opinion on the matter that needs airing. There are discussions going on there that just wont go away because we humans refuse to agree to disagree sometimes. Ooh and some heated discusion going on here at PetaPixel “Disgusting. These are lies. Charming lies, but lies” said one correspondent.
Moving forward…(thank you, Julia)…my aim with this challenge is to celebrate the date with a reconstructed impression of what the subject may have looked like had colour photography been available back in the day! With these colourizations, I will often add some interesting and colourful background textures to give the photos some depth. And in an effort to maintain some authenticity, I will do some research to ascertain the real colours of these early photos especially where military uniforms for example are worn.
Here is the digitized version of the original photo taken by Philip Barraud in 1893.
OK, so that’s one down…364 to go!