All About History
This coffee table collection brings history back to life
The sailor and nurse kissing in Times Square on VJ Day. The Wright brothers’ first flight. ‘Napalm Girl’ naked and screaming during the Vietnam War. Marilyn Monroe posing as a breeze blows her dress upwards. There are countless photos that have shaped our understanding of events but Retrographic: History’s Most Exciting Images Transformed Into Living Colour shines a new light on them, which may make you rethink what you know.
Featuring iconic shots that have been painstakingly colourised using digital techniques, we were pleasantly surprised to discover a group of Victorian gentlemen dressed in gaudy colours that we might have assumed were a sombre black. It also gave us new appreciation for Rasputin’s alleged animal magnetism to discover his hypnotic gaze was piercing blue. However, it was the war photography that really moved us with battle scenes from the American Civil War to World War II given a new sense of urgency by stripping away the monochrome filter.
The book is loosely arranged into sections with broad themes but it’s better to just flick through. Each shot comes with a detailed description providing background on both the history and the photographers including award-winning names like Dorothea Lange, Alfred Eisenstaedt and Malcolm Brown. The collection also deserves credit for colourising lesser-known shots of historically marginalised groups such as the urban poor and Native Americans that might otherwise be overlooked.
Editor Michael D Carroll Publisher Carpet Bombing Culture Price £19.95 Released Out now