Colourized war photos change view
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.