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A Look at How Colorizer Dana Keller Breathes New Life Into Historical Photos

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Dana Keller has made a name for himself as a talented photo colorizer, using his Photoshop skills to offer an idea of what historical black-and-white photos might have looked like had the photographer been able to shoot in color. The video above is a 6-minute look at how Keller approaches the task of colorization.

Keller says his background in photography helped him to see things in historical photos. “I was able to see the effects of lighting and texture, and different mediums as well have different qualities of color, so I decided to see if I could emulate that within these colorizations. Taking those details into account helps to produce a more realistic image.”

He does a considerable amount of research to find out what the true colors of things should be. “You obviously can’t research every single thing, but when it comes to choosing colors and not knowing, it’s important to have a cultural context and historical context of what’s appropriate for the time.”

Here are some of the historical colorizations he has created so far (with their B&W “before” versions as well):

Louis Armstrong, 1946

armstrong_bw

armstrong_co

Audrey Hepburn

audrey1

audrey2-co+copy

Baseball legend “Babe” Ruth, ca. 1920

Babe_Ruth_circa_1920_bw

Babe_Ruth_circa_1920_co

Al Capone’s soup kitchen during the Great Depression, Chicago, 1931

capone_unemployed_bw

capone_unemployed_co

Civil Rights March on Washington, 1963

CivilRights_klassixx_orig

CivilRights_klassixx_color

Dust Bowl, 1936.

FSA/8b38000/8b382008b38283a.tif

dust_co3

Boys buying flowers in New York, 1908.

flowers_bw

flowers_co_level

Marilyn Monroe, 1954

marilyn_bw

marilyn_co

Opening moments of the 1954 World Cup Final

soccer_bw_sm

soccer_co_sm

Titanic sinks on April 15, 1912

London Newsboy Advertising  Loss

London Newsboy Advertising  Loss

You can find many more examples of Keller’s work over on his website. Prints of his colorizations are also available for purchase through Redbubble.

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