Colorization of Frank Larsons black and white photo of woman waiting on a photo booth in 1954.

This black and white photo was taken in 1954 by New York street photographer Frank Larson. I stumbled across his work recently and was blown away by his candid shots of New York life in the 1950’s, I highly suggest you check out his work.

With no need for a photographer and the popularization by Hollywood stars and starlets, it’s no wonder photo-booths were an extremely hot trend in the fifties. Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote, Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse and Ethel Merman were just a handful of the Hollywood crowd in the 1950’s that really brought the trend to a peak.

On the wacky art side of things, Andy Warhol was big a big advocate and first art promoter of photo-booths. Warhol loved the raw and charismatic photographs that  photo-booths produced and found they were perfectly suited for his odd graphic design endeavors. Warhol generally used Times Square photo-booths in the sixties and challenged the commercial portrait world with his inclusion of photo-booth photos of models in Harper’s Bazaar.

The colorization of this photo was pretty time consuming due to the large amount of details, especially the out of focus items in the background and top shelf area. I did a good bit of research on the actual color of photo-booths in 1954 and found they were generally three colors, red, brown or teal. I would have preferred teal but the shadows in the original black and white indicated it was a darker tone.

Colorizing floors can be difficult because of all the different colors and scratching in the flooring. For the flooring in this photo, I used a base layer of black and then two shades of green and then a light gold layer to bring out the patterns in the floor and prevent the photo from appearing too flat.

Below is the origianl black and white photo along with my full size colorization. Feel free to share this photo on your social network of choice as well as leave any comments or questions in the comment section below.
Photo booth by Frank Larson Black and white photoColorization of Frank Larsons black and white photo of woman waiting on a photo booth in 1954.

All photo colorization found within Metacolor is completed by hand using a Wacom Graphic Tablet and Adobe Photoshop CC software. All website design, writing and photo colorization/restoration found within is the sole work of Wayne Degan.


  1. Soren Larson
    July 3, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Very interesting. I’m sure my grandfather would be thrilled to see your results. How did you choose the colors of the ladies outfits? Was it just a guess or can you tell somehow from the bw image? I love the pink dress. Best, Soren Larson

    • MetaColor
      July 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Oh wow, thank you!That is a huge compliment coming from you, your grandfathers work is absolutely incredible. As far as choosing colors, I can generally tell what color the clothing or items in a photo might be by the shades in the black and white photos.I also research the styles and items of that year or era on Google. That being said, there is a great deal of guesswork as well. Thanks again for the compliments.

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