Colorized Photos Alter Perception of History

Nicole Burbach, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

At the start of photography, black and white photos were the only way images could be developed, printed and viewed.


But now, with the advancement of colorization technology, color is able to be restored to black and white photos, which could alter your perception of these images.


Black and white photos can make you feel as if what’s being depicted is far in the past. It gives the impression of being from another time.


However, a few splashes of color can make these once black and white images more relatable, according to Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal.


Just admit it: You have a difficult time connecting to the people you see in old black-and-white photos driving their old Model T’s while wearing their out-of-fashion clothing. It’s almost impossible for anyone to see these people in the images as actual human beings they can relate to.


Something about the newly-colored images makes clearer on an emotional level that these people felt the same feelings as we do, according to Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times.


Even though colorizing photos can make them seem more real, it can take away from the actual photo. It can cause a photo to “lie.” Chances are, the colorizer just chose the random colors they thought would look best, and not the actual colors the photo hides.


However, according to an interview by the Smithsonian Magazine of Dana Keller, a photo colorizer from Boston, colorized photos are not meant to replace and overshadow the historic black and white images.


“(Colorized photographs) are not enhancements or replacements by any means, and they should not be considered a threat or a disrespect to the originals.” Keller said. “My position, and what I believe to be the position of most colorizers, is that colorization is done out of a respect and reverence to history, not as a means of improving upon it.”


Next time you overlook an old photo, just remember, history didn’t happen in black and white.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Colorized Photos Alter Perception of History