Wednesday, September 19, 2018

They Fought in Colour: colorizing archival images

To mark the end of the First World War, Dundurn Press is bringing out They Fought in Colour, produced by the Vimy Foundation with image colourizing specialist Mark Truelove.  It's a book of 150 colourized images of First World War scenes in Canada and on the Western Front, along with interpretive essays by Margaret Atwood, Tim Cook, Serge Joyal, R.H. Thomson and others.

Back to life? A colourized image of the First World War
The colourizing of classic movies did not go over well a decade or two ago. Directors and film critics mostly hated to see Casablanca or Citizen Kane turned into Technicolour. For movies, the trend seems to have faded away.  But in this month's Canada's History, which reproduces a selection of images, Truelove and Vimy Foundation executive director Jeremy Diamond (a friend of mine for years, I should say, and I write for Canada's History too, full disclosure) argue for the relevance and utility of colorizing historical images for new audiences.
Colour makes the images, and the people in them, feel familiar. The people in these colourized images don't seem like an ancient generation but as the young people they were....  It was always the photos with the faces that jumped out the most. We also started to notice that the faces in the photos looked like the faces of today.

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