The Past was not Black and White

Believe it or not there are people who believe that the past actually looked black and white – and I mean not just on photographs but the actual world at the olden days itself. A fact that shows how strong the perception of our past is made from looking at old black and white photos and films. 

I have just discovered these stunning colorisations of iconic photographs. Whoever did these well crafted manipulations here has done such a great job that I find it very easy to believe that they could have been the real deal.

However the idea of turning black and white photos into coloured ones is not new and started way before the magic of Photoshop was discovered. Infact I remember an old coloured-in portrait from the 1920s hanging on my grandma’s wall showing a beautiful blonde woman that had slightly amateurish yellow painted hair and hand drawn red lips.

For quite some time I wondered if there would ever be a software “clever” enough to automatically turn a black and white image into a coloured one – just by analysing the grey-values of the photos. Or would it be impossible because there would be way too much room for interpretation and guessing and it would probably always require the artistic and historic interpretaion of a human manipulator?

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