Colour­ized war photos change view

Penticton Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE FRIES

Cen­tury-old photos from the First World War have been given vivid new life by a dig­i­tal artist in B.C. Com­mis­sioned by the Vimy Foun­da­tion to con­vert 100 black-and-white photos to colour ver­sions, Mark Tru­elove’s work adds a cer­tain sense of re­al­ness to the images. “I think it breaks down a bar­rier,” he said. “Every­thing we see in our world is in colour and I think black-and-white puts a dis­tance be­tween us and the peo­ple in the photos. Adding colour to a photo, I think, makes it more rel­e­vant.”

Tru­elove, who works as a web de­vel­oper in Hope, be­gan colour­iz­ing old fam­ily photos about four years ago, and his tech­nique quickly caught the at­ten­tion of his­to­ri­ans.

He uses a com­mon com­puter pro­gram, Adobe Pho­to­shop, to painstak­ingly add lay­ers of colour to each photo. He se­lects the colours based on ref­er­ence ma­te­rial and guid­ance from ex­perts.

“The ad­van­tage of do­ing mil­i­tary photos is ev­ery bit of kit has a de­fined colour,” Tru­elove added.

“The only time I’m not sure about things is Cana­dian crowd shots,” he added, “but I do try to be pe­riod ap­pro­pri­ate – I wouldn’t put some­one in a neon pink dress in 1914.”

Tru­elove hopes his work helps peo­ple look at the his­tory of Canada at war from a new per­spec­tive.

“They weren’t th­ese strange be­ings who lived in a blackand-white world. They were just like us,” he said.

“They were happy, they were afraid, they were sad – just like we are today.”

To see more of Tru­elove’s work, visit www.cana­di­an­colour.ca. His photos are also fea­tured in a new book called, “They Fought in Coulour.” For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.vimy­foun­da­tion.ca.

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