Metacolor http://metacolor.org Colorization and Restoration of Black And White Photos Fri, 03 Feb 2017 19:05:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i1.wp.com/metacolor.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Metacolor-Logo-Final.png?fit=32%2C32 Metacolor http://metacolor.org 32 32 66717106 Eleven Year Old Coal Mine Worker, 1908. http://metacolor.org/eleven-year-old-coal-mine-worker-1908/ http://metacolor.org/eleven-year-old-coal-mine-worker-1908/#comments Wed, 25 May 2016 17:09:30 +0000 http://metacolor.org/?p=5038 Courtesy of The Library of Congress archives, this photo was taken at the Turkey Knob Coal mine in West Virginia by Lewis Hine in 1908. The disheveled boy in the photo was identified as being Otha Porter Martin who was born on July 3, 1897, making him only eleven years old at the time the...

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Photo colorization of eleven year old coal miner

Courtesy of The Library of Congress archives, this photo was taken at the Turkey Knob Coal mine in West Virginia by Lewis Hine in 1908. The disheveled boy in the photo was identified as being Otha Porter Martin who was born on July 3, 1897, making him only eleven years old at the time the photo was taken.

The lamp on the boys head is a carbide lamp. Solid carbide was used in the lamp body and when water was added it gave off a gas which could be lit.The title of the photo Tipple Boy refers to the machinery in which the boy worked with. A “tipple” is a structure above ground that housed the draw works (hoist engine, cable drum, gear head etc) and the conveyor that took the ore away when the ore cart was tipped when it reached the surface.

The photographer behind this photo, Lewis Hine (1874-1940), worked as an investigative reporter for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) documenting the working and living conditions of children in the United States between 1908 and 1924. If this sort of history interests you, I suggest checking out the massive archive of over 5000 photographs in the archives found here.

You may have noticed that the colorization of this photo is quite a bit more detailed than the original. Once I began restoring the photo and making lighting adjustments, I was able to pull out some of the definition that had previously gone unseen. The worn threads in the clothing and dirt smudges became all the more apparent and really brought the photo to life in my opinion. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Below is the original black and white photo as well as my full size colorization.

Colorized photo of a eleven year old mine workerColorized photo of a eleven year old mine worker

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Fred Astaire, 1940 http://metacolor.org/fred-astaire-1936/ http://metacolor.org/fred-astaire-1936/#respond Tue, 03 May 2016 22:13:40 +0000 http://metacolor.org/?p=5008  Regarded by many as the greatest dancer in showbiz, Fred Astaire revolutionized the movie musical with his elegant and seemingly effortless dance style. This particular photo was taken in 1940 to promote the upcoming film You’ll Never Get Rich. At first glance, you may miss some of the details in the colorization. If you look closely...

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Colorized black and white photo of Fred Astaire. Original photo was taken in 1940.

 Regarded by many as the greatest dancer in showbiz, Fred Astaire revolutionized the movie musical with his elegant and seemingly effortless dance style. This particular photo was taken in 1940 to promote the upcoming film You’ll Never Get Rich. At first glance, you may miss some of the details in the colorization. If you look closely at the skin, you will see that even the most subtle blemishes have been taking into account.

Fred Astaire was born Frederick Austerlitz on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, NE. The son of Austrian immigrant Frederic “Fritz” Austerlitz and his wife Johanna, Astaire was ushered into dancing classes by his mother at the young age of six with the intent to rid him of his frail physique. Not only was Fred a child prodigy but his older sister Adele was an exceptional dancer as well. After observing the natural talent between the two children, Johanna Astaire wanted both Fred and Adele to receive the best training possible and soon moved both children to New York City in 1905.

Over the next several years the Astaire children toured the country performing their Vaudeville act and gaining popularity. Fred and Adele became quite successful as a duo and soon began performing on Broadway in multiple shows together until Adele retired in 1931. Seeing Adele’s retirement as an opportunity to pursue other ventures, Fred began auditioning for films. Although his first screen tests didn’t go over so well, he eventually landed a role as a featured dancer in the Joan Crawford-Clark Gable vehicle Dancing Lady. This led to more prominent roles starring alongside starlets such as Ginger Rogers and Rita Hayworth.

As Fred’s film career began to wind down, he began working in television and even did some songwriting. Astaire received his only Academy Award nomination for his supporting role in the 1974 disaster film The Towering Inferno. He also won an Emmy Award for his work on the television special A Family Upside Down in 1978. Astaire also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1981.

In 1987, Astaire was hospitalized for pneumonia and passed away on June 22 in Los Angeles, California. Former actor and president Ronald Reagan, upon learning the news, called Astaire “an American legend” and “the ultimate dancer.” Ginger Rogers said Astaire “was the best partner anyone could ever have.” At first glance, you may miss some of the details in the colorization. If you look closely at the skin, you will see that even the most subtle pock-marks have been taking into account.

The full size original black and white photo is below along with my full size colorization.

Black and white photo of Fred AstaireColorized black and white photo of Fred Astaire. Original photo was taken in 1940.

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Evening Picnic at Huntington Beach, 1937. http://metacolor.org/evening-picnic-huntington-beach-1937/ http://metacolor.org/evening-picnic-huntington-beach-1937/#comments Tue, 22 Mar 2016 17:20:09 +0000 http://metacolor.org/?p=4991 Original black and white photo comes courtesy of The Huntington Digital Library and was taken in 1937 by photographer Dick Whittington. If you look closely at the newspaper the young man is reading in the bottom right of the photo, you can just make out the headline “Nazis behead U.S. citizen in bomb plot”. This refers to...

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Colorized black and white photo of a beach picnic in Huntington

Original black and white photo comes courtesy of The Huntington Digital Library and was taken in 1937 by photographer Dick Whittington. If you look closely at the newspaper the young man is reading in the bottom right of the photo, you can just make out the headlineNazis behead U.S. citizen in bomb plot”. This refers to Helmut Hirsch who was executed on June 4, 1937 for his part in a bombing plot intended to destabilize the German Reich. A second headline reads: “Nine trapped & burned to death as big California bus crashes”. This refers to a Greyhound bus crash near Redding, California which was also on June 4. This information was noticed and pointed out to me by redditor notbob1959.

This photo provided quite a few challenges. Since the photo was taken at night, it was somewhat difficult to work with. To avoid a “flat” looking colorization, the color opacity must be adjusted accordingly with the shadows. Sometimes lowering the saturation in the shadowed areas will provide a decent result, but this photo required a bit more work to pull it off. Another challenge in this photo was achieving the lighting from the fire. With the help of multiple vivid light layers and some creative trial and error, I was able to reach a result that I was satisfied with. Let me know what you think.

Below is the full size original black and white photo as well as my full size restoration and colorization. 

Black and white photo of beach picnic, 1937Photo colorization and restoration of a group of people having a picnic at Huntington Beach.

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Colorized Photo of One Times Square Under Construction, 1903 http://metacolor.org/one-times-square-under-construction-1903/ http://metacolor.org/one-times-square-under-construction-1903/#respond Wed, 24 Feb 2016 13:33:39 +0000 http://metacolor.org/?p=4970 This photo of Times Square under construction was taken in 1903 by an unknown photographer. The narrow building being constructed in the center of the photo was designed by architects Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz and Andrew C. McKenzie to serve as the headquarters for The New York Times. After completion of the building in 1904, The New York Times thought...

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Colorized black and white photo of one times square, 1903.

This photo of Times Square under construction was taken in 1903 by an unknown photographer. The narrow building being constructed in the center of the photo was designed by architects Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz and Andrew C. McKenzie to serve as the headquarters for The New York Times.

After completion of the building in 1904, The New York Times thought it would be a great idea to stage a massive New Year’s Eve fireworks display to celebrate. Only problem was, fireworks were outlawed in New York and it would be illegal. Fortunately, The New York Times‘ chief electrician Walter Palmer came up with the idea to drop a lighted ball from the top of the tower instead. Although not nearly as exciting as fireworks, the first New Years Eve ball drop in Times Square attracted roughly 200,000 people. The New York Times didn’t stay long in their fancy new building and stayed only ten years before moving into an annex with larger space.

The building on the right with the gold signage is Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre of Varieties. At the time of this photo, Willie Hammerstein had taken over management of the theater from his father and began to book various unknown performers of all kinds. Willie kept the ticket prices low and gave unknown illusionists, exotic dancers, comedians and performers of all kinds a venue for showing their talents to the masses. The low-brow vaudeville acts, dark humor and cheap ticket prices drew in large crowds and the Victoria Theatre became the most popular vaudeville venue in New York.

            It has been awhile since I posted a new colorization. Not only is the colorization process time consuming, but I have also been quite busy with photo editing and retouching projects for several editorial publications. Now that the brunt of that work load is complete, I anticipate having much more time to share some of my photo colorization work here on Metacolor.

Below is the full size original black and white photo as well as my colorized version of the photo. Please leave any comments or questions below.
Black and white photo of one times square, 1905.Colorized black and white photo of one times square, 1903.

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Happy New Year! http://metacolor.org/happy-new-year/ http://metacolor.org/happy-new-year/#respond Thu, 31 Dec 2015 14:29:00 +0000 http://metacolor.org/?p=4931 A revisit and retouch to one of my favorite colorized photos.  I added some subtle detail to the skin tones and hair, upped the vibrance and adjusted the reflections in the chairs. I originally completed this photo a year ago and it is in the top five of the most time consuming photos I have...

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New Years Colorized - Retouched

A revisit and retouch to one of my favorite colorized photos.  I added some subtle detail to the skin tones and hair, upped the vibrance and adjusted the reflections in the chairs.

I originally completed this photo a year ago and it is in the top five of the most time consuming photos I have ever worked on. The drawstrings on the balloons nearly made me give up multiple times. I am glad I powered through, because I love how it turned it out.

The original photo is below as well as my full size colorization.

New Years Celebration ColorizationColorization of a New Years Celebration

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American Film Actress and Model, Kay Aldridge http://metacolor.org/american-film-actress-kay-aldridge/ http://metacolor.org/american-film-actress-kay-aldridge/#respond Tue, 22 Dec 2015 14:57:27 +0000 http://metacolor.org/?p=4915 Considered to be one of the most photographed woman of the 1930’s, Katherine “Kay” Aldridge was an American film actress and model known for her wide-eyed enthusiasm and whole-hearted energy . Kay Aldridge was born in Tallahassee, Florida on July 9th, 1917 and grew up and attended school in northern Virginia. Unlike most other starlets...

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Colorized photo of actress Kay Aldridge

Considered to be one of the most photographed woman of the 1930’s, Katherine “Kay” Aldridge was an American film actress and model known for her wide-eyed enthusiasm and whole-hearted energy . Kay Aldridge was born in Tallahassee, Florida on July 9th, 1917 and grew up and attended school in northern Virginia. Unlike most other starlets of her time, Kay’s entrance into the world of showbiz was a different path.

It was somewhat lucky how Kay became a Hollywood starlet.  While working as a secretary in Baltimore, a photo of Kay was sent by her cousin to the John Powers modeling agency in New York. To Kay’s surprise, the Powers agency quickly reached out to her and offered a modeling contract.  Over the next few years, she became one of the most-photographed women in America. Kay appeared on the covers of Life, Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook and Look magazines and also in many advertisements.

Kay’s Hollywood career began when she was given a screen test for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. Although the role went to Vivian Leigh, Twentieth-Century Fox still signed her to a contract. Over the next two years she appeared in small roles in a variety of films before leaving Twentieth-Century Fox to become a chorus member in the Warner Brothers comedies Navy Blues and You’re in the Army Now. In 1942, she finally broke out of background roles, landing the lead in one of Republic Pictures’ serials Perils of Nyoka as well as a major role in Down Argentine Way alongside Betty Grable.

Kay retired from acting in 1945 and lived happily until the age of 77 in Rockport, ME where she passed away due to heart related issues. Below is the original photo as well as the full size colorization.

Kay AldridgeColorized photo of actress Kay Aldridge

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Immigrant Children Arrive at Ellis Island, New York 1908 http://metacolor.org/immigrant-children-arrive-at-ellis-island-new-york-1908/ http://metacolor.org/immigrant-children-arrive-at-ellis-island-new-york-1908/#comments Fri, 04 Dec 2015 15:43:50 +0000 http://metacolor.org/?p=4885 This photo of immigrant children & their families comes from the National Archives and was taken at Ellis Island, New York in 1908 by the Brown brothers. From 1892 until its doors closed in 1954, millions of immigrants passed through Ellis Island in search of a better life. The faces of the children in this...

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Colorized black and white photo of Ellis Island Immigrants

This photo of immigrant children & their families comes from the National Archives and was taken at Ellis Island, New York in 1908 by the Brown brothers. From 1892 until its doors closed in 1954, millions of immigrants passed through Ellis Island in search of a better life.

The faces of the children in this photo seem to speak a great deal about the emotions they must have felt arriving in America at that time. Forlorn and somber yet eager and optimistic, each face seems like it could be a separate portrait. My descendants are from Ireland and also passed through Ellis Island when arriving in America around the same time period, so this also gave the photo some personal appeal to me.

The restoration of the photo was not incredibly time consuming but still tedious. Adding the color to the photo didn’t take as long as I expected, but working with the faces and getting the flesh-tones just right was not an easy task. I estimate this photo took about 7 to 8 total work hours to complete. Overall, I am extremely pleased with how this photo turned out.

Below is the original black and white photo as well as my restored and colorized version. Please leave your comments or questions below.

Black and white photo of Ellis Island ImmigrantsColorized black and white photo of Ellis Island Immigrants

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Japanese Cherry Blossoms Bloom in Washington D.C , 1935. http://metacolor.org/japanese-cherry-blossoms-bloom-in-washington-d-c-1935/ http://metacolor.org/japanese-cherry-blossoms-bloom-in-washington-d-c-1935/#respond Thu, 05 Nov 2015 13:53:27 +0000 http://metacolor.org/?p=4855 Finally. This is easily the most time consuming photo I have ever worked on.This colorization, along with some retouching work I am completing for clients, is the reason for the lack of recent updates The original black and white photo comes from the Harris & Ewing archives courtesy of the Library of Congress and was...

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Colorization and restoration of black and white photo. Photo depicts two women under a cherry blossom tree. The photo was taken in Washington DC 1935

Finally.
This is easily the most time consuming photo I have ever worked on.This colorization, along with some retouching work I am completing for clients, is the reason for the lack of recent updates

The original black and white photo comes from the Harris & Ewing archives courtesy of the Library of Congress and was taken in Washington D.C in 1935. This photo was taken in the same year that the first National Cherry Blossom Festival was held, which is now an annual event.The Japanese cherry blossom trees were a gift from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City to the city of Washington D.C. as a gesture of friendship between Japan and America.

I began working on this photo a few months back, but never committed a substantial amount of time to finishing until a few weeks ago. The colors and shading were really coming together and I really wanted to see this black and white photo finished. I decided to put all my other photos aside and focus only on restoring and colorizing this particular photo until it was completely done.

  Colorizing the cherry blossoms was a feat in itself, but the small branches were the most tedious and time consuming aspects of this photo. Here is an isolated image of the branches to just give an idea of how intricate and time consuming they were.

I am really pleased with how this one turned out and equally happy that it is complete and done with.

Below is the original photo along with my full size restoration and colorization.

Cherry blossoms black and white.

Cherry Blossoms RestoredColorization and restoration of black and white photo. Photo depicts two women under a cherry blossom tree. The photo was taken in Washington DC 1935

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