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Colorized Photos


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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Women of Color: 1924

Women of Color: 1924

A color version of this 1924 photo of Tidal Basin swimmers. View full size.

Colorization is usually guesswork

I know what you mean about the accuracy of the colors. Unless the colorizer takes the time to do a lot of research on the colors of clothes, signs, and so on, colorization is all guesswork. On the woman with the yellow trim on her swimsuit, I remember that I chose those colors because the style of the suit looked rather goofy and I couldn't picture the colors being anything but kind of weird, too, and faded. Considering the way people laundered clothes in those days, I believe most colors faded after a few washings, so I try to mute them when colorizing a picture.

True Colors?

One can't wondering how accurate the colorization is. We who haunt the Shorpy site are so used to viewing black-and-white photos that if we could travel back to the 1920s or earlier, we might be shocked by the vividness of people's dress, signs, etc. Still, we should not be - no doubt the people of that time did not live in a world of varying gray tones any more than we do.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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