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

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Innovative Stunning Revealing Insightful Evocative Meandering

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