Famous Black and White Photos with Color Breathed Into Them

Swedish artist Sanna Dullaway recently started a business in which she restores and colorizes old black and white photographs. To show off her skills, she decided to colorize some famous B&W photographs captured throughout history.

You can find more of these colorized photographs in this online album.

(via mashKULTURE)


    the fire is just amazing!

  • Adam Solomon

    Thanks, I just vomited in my mouth a little. 

  • Amie Estes


  • Sean Murphy


  • charles

    MAD skills

  • Pslennox

    Sure, she’s skilled, but how is she not in the midst of a massive set of copyright lawsuits? 

  • Joseph Mietus

    Because I assume these aren’t being sold, but are only used to illustrate her talent for work that would be commissioned. 

  • Graysmith


  • patrick

    I’m laughing inside on the Migrant mother picture. they forgot the hand in the foreground, holding onto the wooden plank.

    when you see it….


  • Fatman

    I feel that she is exploiting the emotive nature of these photographs for the sake of marketing her new business. Why choose a photo of self immolation and an execution to “show off her skills” in colorizing old photographs? It trivializes the moments seen in original photos. But that’s just my opinion

  • Bmb0258

    the images are almost more real because of the color – after seeing them for so long they seem almost like abstract art, where i only see ‘migrant mother’ or a. lincoln. but in color they bring a depth of humanity to them ive never felt before

  • Anonymous

    I know it’s not the popular opinion but of these, to me, only the migrant photo looks better b&w. The Einstein would look better with a partially desaturated background, it’s grungy. I have a wedding set I wouldn’t mind her showing her skills at; I had a particularly hard time with white balance with several light sources.

  • S74nt

    I think a key thing to realize is these photos were properly exposed to begin with, and well shot (Duh, hence the reason they are famous).  They should work well as color because they worked well before.  

    I say that not to take credit away from her, as she does a beautiful job.  Turner Broadcasting probably would of had fewer protests about colorizing movies if it was done to this level. 

    Call me old school though but I prefer the B&W.  

  • Dave

    It still violates copyright law, but these images may be in the public domain by now.

  • Guest

    I don’t see anything wrong with what she’s done, and I think she’s done a fantastic job.

  • Seasidebumette

    I agree.  I love old black and white pics.  My father met my mother while traveling around the country in 1940 tinting black and white pics with oils for people.  I have some of his work and it’s fabulous !

  • Telecine Music

    Just terrible.

  • Dash Rendar

    Imho very well done.

  • 8fps

    It just reminds me of the famous quote by Walker Evans: “Color photography is vulgar”

  • Tom

    The outcome success seems very varied from one photo to another: not too fond of the first and last ones, but the three in the middle seem to bring more “reality” when colorized.

  • Anonymous

    A lovely demonstration of technical skills to be sure, but a gross violation of the art!  Perhaps the original artists would have chosen to work in color where available, but it is definitely wrong for a third party decades later to go and make that choice for the artists without their knowledge and certainly consent.  It is the kind of cheap modernism that destroys originality and creativity in this day and age, like digitally inserting dead movie stars into beer commercials.  If you wish to showcase your talent, and the colorist is quite good, use material either you created or obtained permission to alter! 

  • Maggiesteber

    I don’t like this at all….she should have chosen less iconic famous photographs to
    show her skills.  that wouldn’t bother me but as far as I’m concerned, this is infringment on copyright and it is one artist appropriating other artists’ work to benefit herself and IT’S COMMERCIAL!!!!!!   Maybe some of these images are in public domain
    but I doubt the Eddie Adams photo is and I’m sure his widow won’t like this one bit.
    Don’t want to be negative or old-fashioned but it would have been wiser to choose
    less controversial images….although I’m sure there was a reason to do so and that was
    to draw attention and maybe even create controversy because that’s what sells.  Don’t we have enough work in color to look at?  I’m a color a photographer but some things
    are best left in b&w and for me, photos are historical documents whose processes are just as important as the moment they document so I’m not a big fan of hving done this.  

  • Maggiesteber

    Bravo to everything ennuipoet has written!!!!!

  • C.K. Lee

    Hey, good job Sanna! You got a bunch of people’s panties in a knot and now they’re all worked up and talking up a storm about you. I think your marketing ploy worked! What was that about no such thing as bad publicity? Congrats :)

  • david pavlicko

    @11e73f3e4b7f9f921d61a395ee329746:disqus The only photo not in the public domain is Eddie Adams execution photo. I agree she should have not done this one, even though the picture was taken 44 years ago and the photographer is dead now. 

    Which just points out how ridiculously stupid copyright law has become. Maybe we should have asked the guy who got his brains blown out in the photo whether or not he minds if she colorizes the photo. If you want to rail on about people breaking copyright law, just go to youtube and have a heyday.

    Here’s an idea: how about we simply say to the lady, excuse me but this photo is under copyright law. You’re not allowed to manipulate it without permission. Can you please remove it? 

    Everyone is so freaking bent out of shape about it, get over it. 

  • Jeffrey Lee

    Have we learned anything new about any of these images or the subjects in them? As a demonstration of skill, it’s certainly noteworthy. Still, I find little aesthetic value in “adding” colour to a black and white image that was purposefully composed and shot that way.

    And why is it the black and white stuff always has to be colourized? Maybe I’ll start converting famous works of colour photography to black and white, put them on a website with an austere, Euro-looking design scheme and call myself an artist.

  • Stu Field

    I believe the Eddie Addams? photo of the execution in Viet Nam was also recorded on color film. I may be losing it as I get older but I swear I saw that. Although it could be the “what color is the blood in the “Psycho” syndrome”. At any rate the colorizations aren’t art anymore just a historical reference perhaps,(at best). Re: copyright law isn’t it passable under fair use?

  • Anonymous

    She has some serious skills, that’s for sure. I took a photoshop class a couple years ago and one of our assignments was to colorize a black and white photo and let me tell you, it is no walk in the park. Getting realistic skin tones is the hardest part. I love how she made the colors look as if they were shot on color film to begin with (at least that’s how I felt about them). 
    As good as she is, though, I think that she IS in fact violating copyright laws because she is using these examples to help her business, which would lead to making money off of them.

  • Prunesodadesign

    Not true as the colorized version likely represents a derivative work under Us Copyright law.

  • MsEsquire77

    Maybe I’m confused. Are you talking about the face of the baby in her lap?

  • ohno studio

    Not in the instance of the Einstein image. The Einstein estate rights have been passed down to heirs, whether the actual image is in the public domain or not, so there is definite breach here.

  • EPPray

    I agree with all that has been written,however the work she did is outstanding but painful to look at. I also believe that copyright laws have in fact been violated,and that maybe a problem for her in the future. Somethings should be left alone,especially the emotional aspect of theses photos should not have been tampered with.

  • Skitz104

    if you’re referring to the last picture, ohno studio. Thats not Einstein, its Mark Twain.


    no it doesn’t because she isn’t selling them and she probably has permission to do that.

  • Jeremy Keller

    Having seen all those colorized photographs I would now like to see colorized photographs of my home city of Leicester. How did Leicester look in colour all those years ago? I would even like still pictures to be motionized. Obviously it would really be animation but CG should make them look like silent films.

    I am featured on the BBC website and anxious to bring my weblinks to everyone’s attention. Simply visit Google and type in KELLER BBC to access the details, as you should see JEREMY KELLER BBC appear on the screen. You should also be able to look me up on Google by searching for:

    lunar mountaineering

    lunar night earthlight

    motionizing pictures

    motionizing paintings

    Earth shimmering like sapphire

    wreck of Luna 2

    craters resembling dividing cells

    night half facing Saturn

    dent resistant bodywork

  • Angel Oviedo


  • HaHa

    Get over yourself, and get a real life. What have you done?

  • omglol

    LOL that’s mark twain.

  • Vil Guant

    They’re photographs… not paintings… so they couldn’t of been in color.

  • Huck

    Yo Einstein, that’s Twain!