Wow! History’s most iconic photos colorized totally change how you see the past

When we think of the past we usually think of it in black and white. It’s for this reason that colorized photos, photos that have had color added, can be so effective in making the past feel more real. In fact, the best colorized photos bring our awesome ancestors to life in way black and white never can. Don’t believe us? Take a look at these photographs and see for yourself.

VJ Day in Times Square

Abraham Lincoln

Anne Frank

Bikini Atoll

Thich Quang Duc – The Burning Monk

RMS Maurentania

Battle of Gettysburg

Albert Einstein

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81 replies

  1. Love these photos… specially the burning Monk, bcz when u look at this precise pic in black and white you don’t seize the power of the moment, turning it into colors is much more powerful… If I send you some black&white could you turn them colorful too?? … thx

  2. Not sure if coloring these iconic photos adds any value. They are iconic in part because they are a reflection of that time.

    • These aren’t painted or colored. They’re put through a program that turns gray shades into the appropriate colors. They’re correct.

        • pspencer1841 is correct – the proper color for the trousers should be sky blue. Cavalry and infantry wore the same color uniforms – the only color difference was the trim (blue for infantry, gold for cav.).

          • When the photos were in black and white, they made people talk about war; now they’re in colour, they make people argue about pants.

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  6. I think colour brings them to life. The picture Ann frank and Abe gives them more emotion Whereas the picture of Gettesburg is more chilling in black and white. Great work Sanna.

    BTW stumbled here

  7. Color spoils? I guess spices spoil cooking too? Don’t you think they would have been shooting in color if it had been available? I’ve exposed, developed and printed tens of thousands of b&w images with film and paper. I’ve never understood its allure to some when compared to color.

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  15. The “simple” pictures, like the solo pictures, are better black n white, I feel…

    The more eventful pictures (e.g. burning monk, nuke, VJ day in Times Square) need color to capture the gravity of the situation…esp for us youngsters, far removed from those times…

  16. There was only one photo where you can be sure of the original colors and that was wrong – the trousers on the dead yanks would be sky blue.

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  18. It is interesting that colorizing these photos are rightfully considered enhancements yet when applied to the subject of colorizing black and white movies (a la Ted Turner) it is generally considered desecration. Of course Ted didn’t have the technological advantages available today.

  19. I think it’s an interesting and wonderful technical process and does bring a certain life to the photographs and sometimes seems to revokea little soul as you are aware it is a enhanced copy. I find it is an interesting additional veiwpoint to established original artwork ; not art in itself.

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  21. Cool experiment. The photographer who made the Burning Monk shot died less than 2 weeks after you posted this, Joel. That photo in particular seems more striking to me. The fire seems hotter in color, the lack of emotional reaction on the other monks’ faces is more apparent.

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  23. Color truly does bring out so much more reality than what these images otherwise had in black and white. They become so much more real, like they happened just today! Loved the Kiss and Abe, brilliant.

  24. fantastic to see all these things as they would have been in real life. Black & white is so detaching. Love the fact that it brings out the pedants too 🙂

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  26. Hey this really looks incredible could you change some to coloured pictures for me if I also send to you. This really brings out the truth especially that burning monk

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