We’ve enjoyed the privilege of taking photographs for around two hundred years, and during a big chunk of this period, we could only immortalize black and white moments, black and white weddings, black and white portraits. Thankfully, Photoshop enthusiasts from all over the world took on the daunting job of colorizing photos that date back from World War II and even World War I. And it’s no easy job. It takes hours of patience, and mastering Photoshop is essential. You can recognize the colors in a black and white picture by the subtle grey hues and from there on it’s all about the artists’ dedication to build a new photo that will faithfully illustrate what colored life looked in the 20s. An Australian artist put her personal spin on colorizing. When she saw a Romanian photographers’s collection of old glass plate pictures, she figured she could bring them back to life. With a twist. Check out this WWI Romanian photos restored and brought to life by Jane Long.
Jane Long’s colorizing process mainly involved guesswork. The rest of the imaginative process involved some kickass Photoshop skills, a fairy tale perspective and a whole lot of creativity. In this set, Long took a picture of a little boy and a girl, possibly brother and sister, and not only brought it to life with colors, but put her fingerprint on it in a fairy tale meets scary stories kind of way.
This photo dating from the first World War was taken in someone’s garden and captured a very serious young man holding two pigeons. Long thought the picture didn’t have enough birds in it, so she added about a dozen more. The young man is brought to life by the vivid coloring, though he’s still not smiling. While the picture on the left tells a nostalgic story of long gone times, the one on the right mixes historic photography with Daliesque surrealism.
Classic WWI children portraits included dressed up kids often resembling cute chubby dolls. While the little girl on the left looks startled, and the little boy puts on a wise pose, the photo on the right tells a whole different story. The mirror is a unique touch and illustrates Long’s Photoshop skills at their best. Her attention to details is also amazing. Notice the little boy’s blue eyes, his tiny hand resting on the girl’s back and the perfect aged reflection in the mirror.
While on the left we have the classic Romanian wedding at the beginning twentieth century, Jane took a different approach with her digital manipulation. The bride of the sea has other guests than her Romanian black and white equivalent. Her beautiful dress took a lot of careful work and the flower bouquet benefited from an augmentation. The fairy tale element in this one is brought by the floating veil and her almost unnoticeable aqua blue eyes.
Probably a mother and her son showing off their acrobatic skills, the photo on the left captured a unique family moment during the years of the first World War. Continuing the theme, the Australian photographer took to her editing master skills and transformed the photo into an image saturated with color and fun. Notice the woman flipping a pancake and the little boy holding his teacup, while they’re both standing on a teapot resting on the laundry wire. Which is basically the definition of a fun Sunday in the family.
Combining several soldiers’ portraits, Long added a touch of grace to her take on the photo by beautifying it with poppies. The portraits on the left are harsh and cold not only because they are in black and white. The uniforms of the soldiers and officers are brought to life in a colorizing process that must have taken hours, if not days.