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Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

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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 | 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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