What if I told you that this image is from the Civil War era? As in 1861?
We take for granted the nature of old photos, representing times past. They feel familiar, yet completely foreign, and sometimes we think that the world was in black and white before we were born. While many smartphone apps, such as Instagram, try to relive the grainy aspect of these photos, their black-and-white nature still reminded people that these photos were made decades, or even a century ago. However, some photo artists wondered what these photos would look like in color. Not guesses at color, but realistic colors that would match up with what things looked like at the time. While some of these resulting colorized photos still have a foreign aspect to them, some look like they were only shot the other day, even if they were shot in the 19th century. These photos become more real.
Or that this photo is actually from the Great Depression, and not just some couple modeling?
Modern photo-editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop and GIMP have the ability to colorize images with special scripts and algorithms. The trick with colorizing photos is knowing the clothes people wore, the color of the materials used in houses and other backgrounds. When the artist has a better understanding of the time period, they can use more realistic colors.. In addition, techniques can be use to clean up photos of the debris and damage that photographs pick up as they age. Thus, famous photos, from the crash of the Hindenburg, to portraits of President Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein, suddenly become that much more real, more like they actually existed as humans than just historical figures.
It's almost as if I could meet Lincoln myself.
Of course, as seen in this gallery, not all the shots come out perfect. There is still an alien feel on some portraits, such as those of Thomas Edison and Charles Darwin. But with other photos, a person could get away with arguing that it could be an Instagram picture with a filter attached to it. Some are even more realistic than that. It makes one wonder: How far away is the past, really?
(Image Sources: mygrapefruit, Sanna Dellaway)