All About History
10 iconic images in colour
Must-see snapshots of the past are brought back to life by a new collection
Black and white pictures of the past have been given a new lease of life
Today, we take colour photography for granted. We can snap a dozen gaudy selfies in seconds and often delete them just as quickly but it wasn’t always that way. Prior to the 1970s, colour film was prohibitively expensive to be so casually wasted, meaning that most images we have of the past are monochrome, showing nothing of the vibrancy of life in the eras they were taken.
A growing movement seeks to change that, using digital techniques to accurately colourise black and white photos. Retrographic is a new book, produced in association with the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Photographic Society, that hased collected together some of history’s most iconic shots that have been colourised by artists. We can now see the deep khaki of army uniforms, the gold jewellery of the wealthy and even fully appreciate the ethereal, haunting eyes of the ‘Mad Monk’ Rasputin for the first time. In addition to the photos we know and love, the project has transformed some everyday scenes from the 19th and 20th centuries into full colour. Here are just ten of the images featured in Retrographic and the fascinating stories that accompany them.