Historical colored photos...an amazing journey!!

Every time we see a historical photo there is no way our hearts do not beat faster in our chests. The look goes from one side to the other of the photo looking for the minimun detail trying to find or identify objects, signs even footnotes written by someone who owns the photo or maybe by those who took it a long time ago.

Black and white photos were the standard in photography till 1970 decade when taking colored photos became an easy and cheaper way to “preserve a moment in time”. By this time camera prices were coming down, film sensitivity had been improved, electronic flash units were replacing flashbulbs, and in most families color had become the norm for snapshot-taking.

Black and White photography is still used normaly in art photography studios. Use cases goes from weddings to fashion world...no matter how B&W photos remains with us and it will be part of our lives for a long time...maybe forever.

The fact is prior to 1970 color photography was rare, so most of historical moments were taked in B&W wich obviously has its charms, but now we have the possibility to see and reinspect these moments from another perspective: colored photos by hand using Photoshop techniques.


Marina Amaral is a Brazilian artist known for her colorizations of historical black and white photographs. Amaral's creative process involves adding color to black and white photographs using Photoshop, following careful historical research to determine the colors of each object pictured.

In her blog she said:“Color has the power to bring life back to the most important moments.” ...so she decided to combine her fascination with history and skill using Photoshop to bring to life, in full and brilliant colors, a huge amount of moments in history.

From Napoleon’s Grande Armée Veterans pictures to WWII devastation nothing escaped to Marina's prodigious hands allowing us to see, and most important, to compare B&W photos and pictures with their respective colored version.

In her blog she have several hundreds of photos from different times in history positioned in a way we can “slide” from one side to another a vertical slider allowing us to “get colour” for a picture in B&W and vice versa, letting us compare both states of same photography...this is amazing...

Here is a sample of her works:

Britsh paratroopers in route to their drop site during the D-Day Invasion of Normandy.(Courtesy of Marina Amaral Blog)

German soldiers near the town of Pointe du Hoc, about 6.5 km west of Omaha Beach, are taken prisoner by US troops.(Courtesy of Marina Amaral Blog)

Titanic prepares to leave port, 191. (Courtesy of Marina Amaral Blog)

...these are only a few of many colored photos she have in her portfolio. If you want to see more you need to pass by her personal blog where she have all her work free to see and interact with.(https://marinamaral.com)


For many people, collecting antique and historical photographs is a hobby but historians examine these kind of photos regularly. They examine them to see what life was like in the period they were shot. Historical photos can yield a lot of information. For example, a military historian can sometimes look at a photo of solider and tell from his uniform not only what war he fought in but also where and in what year he fought. So historical photographs are super important. They are one of the ways we remember what happened in the past.

If they are in their Black and White form it's ok, but colored photographs allow us two things: understand better the story behind the photo and communicate us a level of emotion we can not see in monochrome.

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