The Color of History

Abe-Lincoln-color-930x546

Some pretty incredible pictures here:  http://www.rsvlts.com/2012/08/10/adding-color-to-the-most-iconic-photos-in-history/

Like it or not, you can’t argue that colorizing these old photos that we know so well makes us see them in a completely new way.

Photography was one of my first loves, and I have played with it, studied it, read about it, and appreciated it for a lot of decades now.  These sepia beauties are all old friends to me.

When I started taking pictures, black and white film was still routinely used because color film was in its infancy; slow and grainy.  I took the pictures, I developed the film, and I made the prints.  I devoured Ansel Adams’ books about the art and craft and secretly tried to grow a beard.  I couldn’t measure up to him in any respect, but I loved the craft and I loved the devotion it took.  Still do.

I love these old icons.  I love the hues, I love the flattening effect of the lack of color.  The blacks have no detail and the highlights are completely washed out, leaving it up to our imaginations to fill in, if they are still capable of that in this time when they get so little exercise.

But I have been guilty of loving them as small objects of pure art and creation.  Sure it is a picture of a famous person, or a terrible battle scene, but more on the level of an oil painting by an Old Master than images of Afghanistan on the 6 O’Clock News.

Man does the color change that.

I love the surprise, the rush of emotion, the sudden connection to another human, instead of the cerebral appreciation of a finely crafted work.

Check them out.

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