Coloring the Past – Blaspheming the Sacrosanct or Laudable [Re]Creativity?

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56 Responses to Coloring the Past – Blaspheming the Sacrosanct or Laudable [Re]Creativity?

  1. Tomislav Mavrovic October 5, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Haha color Abe, I lol’d as soon as I saw this…

  2. Bree October 5, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I don’t think Sanna’s work is blasphemous at all. While I may still prefer the black and white versions of some of these photos, the added colors and tones actually enhance my appreciation of the other photos’ nuances and details. And the Burning Monk shot is a great example of how the emotional impact of the photo has been deepened through the addition of color. Sanna’s work takes nothing away from the original artistry of these photographs – I think that it only helps viewers appreciate the original photographs more, especially when a viewer takes the time to compare the versions and reflect on them.

  3. Celestial October 5, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    It’s obvious this work was done by an artist. Should the pictures have been butchered I’d have reason to complain.

  4. Greg Tennyson October 5, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    It’s a cool idea. It sort of reminds me of Musicians sampling old music to make something new.

  5. Daniel Archer October 5, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    It’s really pretty incredible. Kudos to her for such a huge undertaking.

  6. Beatriz October 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    If anything it makes the images come alive, bringing them into the present. B/W is the past and as such it feels conceptual, an idea, but add color and it’s much more real.

  7. Scott McQ October 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    The only one it really bothered me on was the Dorothea Lange image. All of the other ones it added to the image, made them seem more accessible. The Lange image is so strong and vibrant in B&W that it didn’t need help. In fact the color made it seem more common, less impactful.

    • Daf October 8, 2012 at 4:58 am #

      Agreed. Wouldn’t say it “bothered” me but adding colour did seem to reduce it’s impact and grittiness.

  8. Tim Roper October 5, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    Ted Turner colorized all those old classic movies, and I’m sure there were plenty of objections at the time. But I was watching part of one the other night, and it took me awhile to remember it was a colorized version. It looked great.

    • October 6, 2012 at 3:22 am #

      This was primarily criticised as a method of capturing copyright of films, whether it was to gain ownership or extend the period of coverage, it was basically like cheating on your taxes. Colourisation was the job of last resort for art students as it was poorly paid, high churn, factory work. Woody Allen was incensed because he is still shooting black and white!

      I think the nuclear blast looks bigger and scarier in colour. And most people look more warmly, emotionally human.

      • Roger Duncan October 6, 2012 at 11:26 am #

        I recently heard a young man sing”Come Away with Me” by Norah Jones at a Karaoke set. He had a powerful voice and brought a lot of the same kinds of emotion to the song as did the original artist.

        I’m in favor of artistic inspiration. But – still liked the original better.

        I think if this young man had harnessed the emotional energy and built his own song I’d have been more impressed with the song.

        Technical skills do not an artist make.

  9. James Green October 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Is not the purpose of editorial photography (which is what this is) to accurately communicate a real life event? The image is iconic, is striking in its original form, it will never not be epic. But the colour I feel really adds impact. I think it really depends on any given image. But personally, generally I think that editorial photography draws me more into the reality of the scene when it’s in colour. Grey scale images for me have a more artistic edge and I somehow am more removed from the the reality.

  10. Vasco October 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    Very good work. A couple of weeks ago I tried the same, just for fun. If anyone is interested, here are a few examples:

  11. Bob Smith October 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    I like the portraits but I don’t think it serves any purpose to color serious historical news events just because it can be done. It comes off to me as sensational in the case of the immolation of the monk and just silly in the photo of the atomic blast. The colorizing makes it look like a happy postcard and I feel it lessens the impact. They’re well done, though,

  12. vdrielc October 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    I really like the Lincoln re-colour. The rest really should stay BW, it just looks so much better for these images.

  13. David October 7, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    It seems about equal response wise Chase.

    Orig B+W should be left as is, for historical reference and timeless photo beauty.

    New Color adds to the pic, updates as well as appreciation it was done so well (and it was, seemless)

    Juries out I’d say,
    Its the conversation I appreciate.

    But Chase … Come on on now.
    Total Recall? A classic? depends on how old you were at the time I guess,
    but really? A Classic? lol.

  14. Joel October 7, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    The blue car visible behind the monk is on display in Hue, Vietnam. I saw the car a few months ago. Behind the car on the wall hangs a colorized version of the self-immolation photo, This is one of the few times when I prefer the colorized version over the original.

  15. faisal October 7, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    I like the right one more, colour do matter.

  16. Carrol Gerringer November 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

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  17. Nonha November 23, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    A few more updates-Acccording to bcffxoioemojo, Cool It made an average of a little over $650 at the 41 theaters at which it opened last Friday- which makes it highly unlikely (to say the least) that it will make it to the Keystone Art Cinema.Also, it sounds like Made in Dagenham will be at the KAC on December 17- or at least that’s what it sounds like as of now.And Miriam- thanks for the Blood Noodle comment. I’m not sure what kind of movie would have that title, but I would probably wind up seeing it, some day.

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