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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

I planned to hold off on uploading any more colorized images for about a week or two, but these ladies and Old Glory just seemed so right for color I couldn't resist. And now was the time to get them colorized and uploaded. View full size.

A vote in favor

Colorized snaps??? YES PLEASE!!!

I love them. Please do not stop doing them.

Keep the Color

Please please keep these colored pics coming! They absolutely bring these people and the details to life. It makes them seem real. Can't you just see them running around in the present time -- except for the clothes, that is!

Superb!

Best colorization I have seen in a VERY long time!

Rockwell

I thought there was something very Norman-Rockwellian in the composition of the original photo, and the colorized version looks even more like one of his paintings.

The Eyes Have It?

I was struck by the fact that every one of these ladies has her eyes either closed or apparently downcast. Curious.

I liked the colorized work, too. Many old antique postcards used the technique to great effect.

This is a great image for an American Fourth.

Selective Colour

I think Shorpy is an amazing site and I check it whenever I sit down at my machine. Colourised or Colorized, the images speak volumes about a bygone age. As a Brit I have always found the American reverence for 'The Flag' sometimes hard to understand, although I do admire your patriotism - something we seem a bit shy of expressing on this side of the pond. From a purely aesthetic view point I would like to have seem the colours reduced in saturation, possibly only colouring the flag. That's my tuppence worth and by the way, I am first generation British from good Irish stock, and my hair is grey.

All things in moderation are fine.

I like the colorized photos. They add life and since the originals are still "here", nothing's harmed.

I do think the lady on the far left might be upset she's been given "blue hair" though. She doesn't appear quite old enough to be a "blue haired little ol' lady."

Begorra, I like the colors

"Take it all somewhere where they love this stuff"? Well, that "somewhere else" may be here, because I must join those who are enjoying the colorized pics.

Photographs are just reflections of reality in any event (I know, duh), albeit wonderful, valuable ones. And an Internet image of a photograph is a reflection of a reflection, I suppose.

As long as no one is losing access to the originals and nothing is harmed or lost, I have no objection whatever to someone's taking another, more colorful look at a given small reflection of reality. And Fredric's work is always tasteful and, I find, rather moving.

(And I have an "Irish face" and red hair, but, as has been noted, there is not necessarily a correlation!)

Don't worry, be happy!

Thanks to all of you who complimented my work! Mark Twain once said he could live for two months on a good compliment and that's the way you make me feel!

As for my color choices, they are generally just subjective. I try for a balance of colors that complement each other. Draft renderings usually show what colors aren't going to work. If I keep in mind the era the photo is from, it's easy to see what colors are too bright or too modern.

To the rest who think my contributions are harming Shorpy, don't worry about me uploading a lot of images. The ones I've uploaded in the past couple of weeks are the result of about a year and a half of work. The exception is this one done just for the holiday. While I do have a few more colorized photos to share, I'll hold off on uploading any more soon. I don't want to keep colorizing more on a regular schedule anyway.

What they look like.

Porcelain figurines. Figures in a wax museum. Animatronics. Or the fruits Huck Finn admires in the Grangerford house, "which was much redder and yellower and prettier than real ones is, but they warn't real."

Pleasantville

Regarding the snarping about the color photos on the site, I am reminded of the movie "Pleasantville." Everybody wanted their world to stay nice and black and white and the same as it always had been. Then some "meddling kids" starting having fun and turning into color and the old guard's whole world fell apart.

Wonderful color

Once again, you have done a fantastic job. I love it. The colors make a dull photo come alive. Like Jack I would also like to know more about the process you have used. If you are just picking colors out that you believe might have been used then you are doing a great job.

Vexillology

Thanks, Dave for teaching me a new word. It's also a pretty modern one according to Wikipedia.

I am one who is very impressed with the colorizaton of photos but I would like to see the submissions be a very low percentage of Shorpy. Certainly some pictures are great candidates. There is no disrespect and no comprimise of the original. I may yawn once in a while, but in no way will it make me like MY Shorpy less.

When you see an Irish face, you know the hair is red?

Hair color percentages in Ireland:

3% Black ('coal black"); 40% Dark brown; 35% Medium brown; 5% Reddish-brown; 4% 'Clear" red; 12.5% Light brown to blond; 0.5% Ashen.

(Statistics from "The Physical Anthropology of Ireland", Harvard U. Study by Hooton and Dupertuis.)

It's Not Shorpy Anymore

These colorizations are really ruining the spririt of Shorpy. They should be on another site somewhere where people would appreciate them more. Having been a regular visitor to this site for about two years now, I must say that I am disappointed that the integrity of the site seems to have been violated by these false colors being added to the images. By the way, I am Irish, but I do not have red hair, nor could anyone presume that I was Irish by simply looking at my photo. Just saying.

Requests

"Coney Island 1905" and "Nighthawk" would look good colorized. I really don't see what harm is done.

I do remember seeing the colorized version of "Casablanca" and I hated that!

My Opinion. Yours May Vary.

More and more, I'm beginning to like this site less and less. The reason? Too much garish, fake color splashing out at me almost every time I wander over here. Today was no exception. We get it already. It's cool. A fine technique. I'm impressed to death. Yawns. Now- take it all somewhere else where they love that stuff. Somewhere, anywhere. Enough already.
Thank you.

Happy 4th of July.

Objective but not computable

It's an interesting question, because there are some objective cues in a picture. When you see an Irish face, you know the hair is red; when you see a Model T you know the body is black. And Fredric does a masterful job of using these cues. His hair and clothing colors are "accurate," not dependent on "whim."

But a computer couldn't apply these cues; they depend on human perception and cultural knowledge. If your definition of "objective" means "computable," then I guess you couldn't call these decisions "objective."

Flag looks pretty accurate from what I remember...

and I also enjoy the colorized photos. The world really did exist in color even back then, and it's nice to finally see it that way now. I'm glad technology has caught up with the reality of the way it was, the way these ladies saw it. And the b&w ones are not gone. You can still go look at them whenever you want.

Great!

That is great! I for one enjoy the colorized photos.
I also enjoy this site very much.

Artistic License vs Science

Is the selection of the colors simply the whim of the person doing the colorization (subjective), or is it accurately determined via some technology that can objectively interpret the gray shades in black and white photos?

[We convened a 12-member panel from the American Academy of Vexillology to come up with colors for the flag. - Dave]

 
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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