20 Historic Black and White Pictures Restored in Color

Most often the color palette that we associate with history is limited to black and white only. But have you ever imagined what did people, their outfits and backgrounds look like in real life – in color? Members of this one group on reddit, called r/ColorizedHistory, sure have: they pick historic photos that we have only seen in black and white, and bring them back to life by digitally coloring them. Of course, some interpretation and imagination is used in the process, but all of the artists try to work with as much historical accuracy as possible.

Even though the idea looks simple, the final image has a surprisingly touching effect: by seeing those historic moments in color, we can relate to them easier, and this makes the pictures a whole lot more powerful. Instead of seeing those photos like we’re used to in history books, we now meet people that seem a lot more real, and situations – war scenes, for example – that look as if they have just happened.

1. Women Delivering Ice, 1918

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-2-1colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-2-22. Times Square, 1947

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-8-2colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-8-13. Portrait Used to Design the Penny. President Lincoln Meets General McClellan – Antietam, Maryland ca September 1862

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-28-2colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-28-14. Marilyn Monroe, 1957

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-16-2colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-16-15. Newspaper boy Ned Parfett sells copies of the evening paper bearing news of Titanic’s sinking the night before. (April 16, 1912)

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-13-2colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-13-16. Easter Eggs for Hitler, c 1944-1945

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-14-1colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-14-27. Sergeant George Camblair practicing with a gas mask in a smokescreen – Fort Belvoir, Virginia, 1942

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-30-21colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-30-18. Helen Keller meeting Charlie Chaplin in 1919


9. Painting WWII Propaganda Posters, Port Washington, New York – 8 July 1942


10. Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge ca 1935


11. Louis Armstrong practicing in his dressing room, ca 1946


12. Broadway at the United States Hotel Saratoga Springs, N.Y. ca 1900-1915


13. “The Tall Cowboy”, Ralph E. Madsen with Senator Morris Sheppard, 1919


14. Dancers of the National American Ballet, 20 August 1924


15. Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, 1921

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-11-1colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-11-216. Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father and the only surviving member of the Frank family revisiting the attic they spent the war in, 3 May 1960


17. Young Woman with Umbrella – Louisiana, 1937


18. Crowded Bunks in the Prison Camp at Buchenwald, April 16, 1945

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-15-2colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-15-119. Peatwy Tuck of the Meskwahki, 1898

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-7-2colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-7-120. Boys after buying Easter flowers in Union Square, New York, April 1908

colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-12-2colourized-black-and-white-photography-history-12-1It’s nice to see that the community of history fans is growing, and that people want to make it relevant to others. However, this has also sparked some discussion, as some say that the artists are just messing with historic facts and misinforming people. So, view it critically.


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