Old Photographs Brought to Life With the Latest Colorization Techniques

Old images brought to life with colorization techniques

Photographs taken over 100 years ago can appear like a foreign country, but the people in those photos did not experience the world in black and white.

For his latest project, digital artist and photo restorer Stuart Humphryes employed the latest color technology to restore images taken in the early 20th century.

The Colors of Life was created by Humphryes to connect his audience with the past. In his incredible colorization work, he wants the viewer to develop an intimacy and deeper emotional resonance with the people in these photographs.

Each image takes an average of several hours to clean up scratches and dust, repair damages, and fix light levels. Humphryes is also using the very last artificial intelligence (AI) technology to enhance and sharpen the details.

Claude Monet
French impressionist Claude Monet in front of his house in Giverny, France, 1921, photographer unknown.
Colorized photo
Fisherwoman and man from the small port of Volendam, near Edam, Netherlands, by St.phane Passet, August 29, 1929.
colorized photo
Machine gunners stationed in the ruins at Bucy-le-Long during the Second Battle of the Aisne, France, photographed by Fernand Cuville, 1917.

Humphryes collected early color photos, such as ones shot on Lippmann plates, Paget plats, and Autochromes. He took the faded hues of these early color photos and breathed fresh life into them to give a sharp, vibrant quality in a bid to challenge peoples’ assumptions of the past.

Humphryes wants readers of The Colors of Life “to see the past in a brand-new way — to see history enhanced and the true colors of life restored.”

Colorized photo
The first Paris Air Show, held at the Grand Palais, France, photographed by L.on Gimpel, September 30, 1909.
Colorized photo
Portrait of his wife stitching an American flag by Mr. Benjamin F. Russell, ca. 1910.
colorized photo
Modern dance performers Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn in Land of the Best, photographed by Franklin Price Knott, 1916.
colorized photo
Painter Armand Guillaumin painting his well-known work Bathers at Crozant, France, photographed by Antonin Personnaz, 1907.
colorized photo
Two French marines, survivors of the Battle of Langemarck that took place in West Flanders, Belgium, photographed in Dunkirk by Paul Castelnau, 1917.

book cover
Humphryes was previously a TV colorizer and worked on the BBC series Doctor Who where his work received critical acclaim.

The Colors of Life is out internationally on October 17 and is sold by Gestalten.