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(io9)   Iconic black and white photographs -- now in color   (io9.com) divider line 107
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16664 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Jul 2013 at 9:08 PM (37 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-27 07:01:51 PM
"Shhh. The process is still evolving."
img.gawkerassets.com
 
2013-07-27 07:30:50 PM
img.gawkerassets.com

They didn't have mannequins in the 20s?
 
2013-07-27 08:06:38 PM
up-ship.com
 
2013-07-27 08:06:54 PM
I think I'm going to print a few of these off and frame them.  Some are better done than others and the really good ones make me feel a very powerful connection with history.
 
2013-07-27 08:20:23 PM
www.abc.net.au
 
2013-07-27 08:25:34 PM
History is always cooler in color. If we had had colored history when I was a kid, I might know something about the topic by now.
 
2013-07-27 08:48:37 PM

miss diminutive: They didn't have mannequins in the 20s?


They did, but there's something to be said for the marketing value of showing your bullet proof vest will protect an actual person.

xlbrooklyn: Some are better done than others and the really good ones make me feel a very powerful connection with history.


One thing to keep in mind with colorized photos is that the person who did the coloring may not have desired to create the look of a color photograph. They have wanted to create the look of a hand tinted photograph, that is a black and white picture that would be colored with colored pencil by hand, this was at one time quite popular. Also some may be looking to create the look of various old color looks, if you look at early color photos you'll see the colors aren't quite like in more recent color photos. So it's not necessarily a matter of better than others, in some cases the people doing the coloring aren't trying to create coloring that makes the pictures look like color photos as we're used to them.

/have colorized many a black and white photo, it's a lot of fun
 
2013-07-27 09:11:51 PM
Oh fark. Where's King Sh*t of F*ck Island?
 
2013-07-27 09:19:06 PM
But they cant be artsy if they arent in black and white!
 
2013-07-27 09:19:54 PM
This is a rather pointless exercise.
 
2013-07-27 09:23:13 PM

Humina humina!


img.gawkerassets.com

 
2013-07-27 09:23:21 PM

Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist: This is a rather pointless exercise.


i.imgur.com


"Shhh. Let them revel in their self-congratulatory euphoria."
 
2013-07-27 09:26:18 PM

cretinbob: [www.abc.net.au image 700x467]


LHOOQ
 
2013-07-27 09:26:35 PM
Black and white film negatives don't always lend themselves to colorization. One well known technique to control the contrast or shading of a B&W photo is to shoot through a color filter, in which case you can't just color it in and have the shading come out realistic. This is why colorization sometimes looks like a cartoon- either the photographer used a filter, or the film was much more sensitive to some wavelengths than others. You might be only seeing the lightness of green and some blue, so if you want to color something red there's no lightness "information" for the red, like removing a color channel in photoshop.
 
2013-07-27 09:28:36 PM
In before biatching about the glorification of a sailor mouth-raping some chick
 
2013-07-27 09:29:14 PM
blog.photoshelter.com

Here's a guy who shot static photos through three color lenses using monochrome film. Because he separated the colors, we can create an accurate colorization that is much more science than speculation.
 
2013-07-27 09:29:50 PM

puppetmaster745: In before biatching about the glorification of a sailor mouth-raping some chick


I wouldn't call rappy sailor-mouthed.
 
2013-07-27 09:30:32 PM

puppetmaster745: In before biatching about the glorification of a sailor mouth-raping some chick


2/10

You might be get a few bites, but you only said rape once.
 
2013-07-27 09:30:51 PM

WhyteRaven74: miss diminutive: They didn't have mannequins in the 20s?

They did, but there's something to be said for the marketing value of showing your bullet proof vest will protect an actual person.

xlbrooklyn: Some are better done than others and the really good ones make me feel a very powerful connection with history.

One thing to keep in mind with colorized photos is that the person who did the coloring may not have desired to create the look of a color photograph. They have wanted to create the look of a hand tinted photograph, that is a black and white picture that would be colored with colored pencil by hand, this was at one time quite popular. Also some may be looking to create the look of various old color looks, if you look at early color photos you'll see the colors aren't quite like in more recent color photos. So it's not necessarily a matter of better than others, in some cases the people doing the coloring aren't trying to create coloring that makes the pictures look like color photos as we're used to them.

/have colorized many a black and white photo, it's a lot of fun


I agree, some of these are rather well done. I particulary like the Bikini baker shot pic. Mostly becuase I'm a cold war / nuke junkie. But I know the military pretty much had every single bit of the most modern photographic technology and the best camera operators monitering all those tests and its seems perfectly reasonable that there would be a color version of that picture out there somewhere.

The Iwo Jima  shot doesn't work for me as a "tinted" pic as it is out of the time frame and context for the picture, and well, I just don't think it was done very well.  The unemployed lumberjack pic is striking, but of course.. when I looked at it the words  "I dont want no damn FOP! I`m a DAPPER DAN MAN!" screamed through my noggin.
 
2013-07-27 09:32:00 PM
How about no.
 
2013-07-27 09:35:18 PM
I really liked that.

Apos: Bashar and Asma's Infinite Playlist: This is a rather pointless exercise.

[i.imgur.com image 554x559]


"Shhh. Let them revel in their self-congratulatory euphoria."


Actually, isn't your faux-intellectual aversion to these rather self-congratulatory?
 
2013-07-27 09:35:42 PM
FTFC:

Was destroying black and white classics by colorizing them before it was cool....

img.gawkerassets.com
 
2013-07-27 09:35:47 PM
That is some cool shiat.

Miss Diminutive: They didn't have mannequins in the 20s?

They probably did but the bullets coming from guns of the 1920s could probably have damn near been stopped by a thick piece of leather.  The guns of 1776 could almost certainly have been stopped by the same, plus took 30s or so to reload 1 shot.  I fully support the second amendment so long as the gun nuts are willing to own the type of pea shooter that was around when the constitution was signed.  Anything more than that and I support reasonable restrictions.  The founding fathers couldn't have begun to have imagined ar-15s and the like and didn't have them in mind when the second amendment was written.
 
2013-07-27 09:36:30 PM
NO. Anyone with halfway decent photoshop skills can do this, and it's not cool. Part of the value of such images is that they are a product of their time, and their appearance gives them that history and gravitas.
[old guy rant] As an artist and film editor I despise these pissant kids who want everything in color.
I spend weeks on a drawing in charcoal or graphite, and the first thing that gushes out of their collective piehole is "can you do that in color?" F*CK NO I WON'T DO IT IN COLOR. If I had wanted it in color I would do it in color. It was meant to be as it was created, so STFU and GTFO.{/old guy rant]

I think some people are spoiled by cartons and sh*t... every time I see a colorized black and white film, I want to throw my chair at the screen. Everything doesn't have to be in color, or in widescreen, or in 7.1 surround sound. Leave sh*t alone.
/adjusts onion
 
2013-07-27 09:40:07 PM

skinink: Humina humina!
[img.gawkerassets.com image 640x571]


This might have been my favorite.
 
2013-07-27 09:41:36 PM
A lot of those came off Shorpy. Some of them are fascinating.

http://www.shorpy.com/colorized-photos
 
2013-07-27 09:46:14 PM
I was expecting that to look horrible, was actually very impressed
 
2013-07-27 09:48:13 PM

rewind2846: NO. Anyone with halfway decent photoshop skills can do this, and it's not cool. Part of the value of such images is that they are a product of their time, and their appearance gives them that history and gravitas.
[old guy rant] As an artist and film editor I despise these pissant kids who want everything in color.
I spend weeks on a drawing in charcoal or graphite, and the first thing that gushes out of their collective piehole is "can you do that in color?" F*CK NO I WON'T DO IT IN COLOR. If I had wanted it in color I would do it in color. It was meant to be as it was created, so STFU and GTFO.{/old guy rant]

I think some people are spoiled by cartons and sh*t... every time I see a colorized black and white film, I want to throw my chair at the screen. Everything doesn't have to be in color, or in widescreen, or in 7.1 surround sound. Leave sh*t alone.
/adjusts onion


You'll get over it, yourself.
 
2013-07-27 09:49:47 PM
img.gawkerassets.com

Most of them came out pretty decent, but this one looks pretty amateurish. Aside from the lady on the roof it looks like they only used 4 colors, and maybe 5 on her.
 
2013-07-27 09:50:02 PM
the photo of Hemingway makes me think "Hodor".
 
2013-07-27 09:53:23 PM
Colorizing the Battle of Iwo Jima photo is kind of redundant, because the black and white still photographer was accompanied by a color motion picture photographer.
 
2013-07-27 09:54:09 PM
inapcache.boston.com

Clicky for a real olde timey color gallery to see what the color world looked like... before color!
 
2013-07-27 09:54:54 PM
Unemployed lumber worker was kind of a hottie.

I enjoyed that. Thanks, subby.
 
2013-07-27 09:56:31 PM

Confabulat: History is always cooler in color. If we had had colored history when I was a kid, I might know something about the topic by now.


That sounds like it would actually be depressing.
 
2013-07-27 09:59:05 PM

Nem Wan: Colorizing the Battle of Iwo Jima photo is kind of redundant, because the black and white still photographer was accompanied by a color motion picture photographer.


That means that you can at least colorize with accurate colors and you won't have some history buff saying "well that's all wrong the canteens were grey, not green."
 
2013-07-27 09:59:22 PM
Apparently, Churchill got that look on his face in Karsh's photo of him after Karsh asked him to put down a cigar so it wouldn't be in the frame.
 
2013-07-27 09:59:44 PM
Alexander Gardner: The last living photograph of Abraham Lincoln, 1865


What does this even mean?
 
2013-07-27 10:03:08 PM

HempHead: Alexander Gardner: The last living photograph of Abraham Lincoln, 1865


What does this even mean?


That was the last photograph taken of Abraham Lincoln while the man was still alive.
 
2013-07-27 10:03:35 PM
Auto-polo!
 
2013-07-27 10:04:49 PM
I'm really digging this one of Dallas at night.

http://www.shorpy.com/node/7636
 
2013-07-27 10:07:20 PM

Demetrius: FTFC:

Was destroying black and white classics by colorizing them before it was cool....


Came for this.
That comment was the best.
 
2013-07-27 10:12:43 PM
Most of these photos aren't great art, they are just lucky snapshots in a moment in time. They are not artistic classics that should not be tampered with, as if some creative genius behind them would be offended. Putting them in color gives them a feeling that they really existed. Seeing history in black and white all the time makes it very hard to relate to. Seeing it in color, and wow, those people look like us.

Honestly, complaining that these are desecrations of some kind is pretty silly.
 
2013-07-27 10:19:29 PM

freetomato: Unemployed lumber worker was kind of a hottie.


But who is his wife flipping off?
 
2013-07-27 10:20:22 PM

rewind2846: NO. Anyone with halfway decent photoshop skills can do this, and it's not cool. Part of the value of such images is that they are a product of their time, and their appearance gives them that history and gravitas.
[old guy rant] As an artist and film editor I despise these pissant kids who want everything in color.
I spend weeks on a drawing in charcoal or graphite, and the first thing that gushes out of their collective piehole is "can you do that in color?" F*CK NO I WON'T DO IT IN COLOR. If I had wanted it in color I would do it in color. It was meant to be as it was created, so STFU and GTFO.{/old guy rant]

I think some people are spoiled by cartons and sh*t... every time I see a colorized black and white film, I want to throw my chair at the screen. Everything doesn't have to be in color, or in widescreen, or in 7.1 surround sound. Leave sh*t alone.
/adjusts onion


That argument would carry more weight if the original photographers actually *wanted* their work in black and white. They were constrained by the technology of the day, in which color slide photography was massively expensive and technically difficult to execute, and usable high-quality color print photography was simply unavailable at any price. The best price-performance until then was Plus-X and Tri-X.

We're all just adjusted to thinking of monochrome photography as having gravitas. But we don't know; maybe the photographers might have found their stories easier to tell if they'd had color.
 
2013-07-27 10:22:17 PM

Confabulat: Seeing history in black and white all the time makes it very hard to relate to. Seeing it in color, and wow, those people look like us.


Really?

www.thedisplacedafrican.com
 
2013-07-27 10:23:23 PM
I like these a lot, they all seem more human to me. Well, the ones with people in them.

The Buddhist self-immolation was very heavy.

Also, Dali's Ocelot is trippin' balls.

img.gawkerassets.com
 
2013-07-27 10:29:46 PM
Shopped, pixels, etc.

/still cool
//almost as cool as bow ties and fezzes
 
2013-07-27 10:39:46 PM

pdieten: We're all just adjusted to thinking of monochrome photography as having gravitas. But we don't know; maybe the photographers might have found their stories easier to tell if they'd had color.


I doubt it... the tech you just spoke of gives these images not just a sense of art (if they were meant to be art) or just luck (if they were meant to capture a moment), but a place in time itself. That is what can give an ordinary snapshot value over and above its subject... the fact that this happened, in this place, at this time, which will never happen again. The story is, to me, given more importance because of the tech used at the time. HISTORY is the issue here, which is why some of the people raised in an era where color film and video was commonplace and taken for granted whine and complain about black and white images.

I just purchased a dvd set of Popeye cartoons, the ones the Fleischer studios made from the 1930s through the 1940s... watched them all the way through. Beautiful drawings and animation, 3d stereoscopic backgrounds, the works. Had some Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, Crazy Kat, and Mutt and Jeff toons included as well. My 19 year old nephew whines "why are these all in black and white"? There's no way I could explain why in terms of history, since to people in that age group there's no such thing. If it didn't happen in the last ten minutes, it doesn't matter. Sad, very sad.
/puts second onion on
 
2013-07-27 10:56:14 PM

UsikFark: we can create an accurate colorization that is much more science than speculation.


actually we can just look at his color prints. And his name was Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky. And there's a whole gallery here http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Prokudin-Gorskii
 
2013-07-27 10:59:57 PM

Boo_Guy: But they cant be artsy if they arent in black and white!


Or,

"Black and white is horrible!  It needs to be fixed!"
 
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