I don't like 'colourised' photos. Do you?

Discussion in 'Photo Restoration' started by von Poop, Sep 12, 2014.


To 'colourise' or not to 'colourise'?

This poll will close on Jan 23, 2027 at 3:54 PM.
  1. Yes. I like it.

    10 vote(s)
  2. No, it is a bad thing. Stop it.

    28 vote(s)
  3. Depends. (dithering quitters tick here :whistle: )

    12 vote(s)
  4. Don't you know theres a real world out there? Why would anyone care?

    1 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    A Marmite subject. some seem to love, some hate. (The filthy muck)
    Poll added.

    Obviously it's nothing to do with me where people's tastes lie, or what they do with old photos, but I find the style increasingly pointless, what with a constant slew of 'AMAZING COLOUR IMAGES' articles on the web while so few of said articles are genuinely unusual.
    Fully aware of the old inks style of adding colour, but that's somehow different for me - more authentic, and the presentation of lots of this digital stuff is increasingly blurring the lines between genuine colour, contemporary colourising, and the new work.

    Nothing wrong with black & white or sepia, from tinotypes onwards. Leave the photographic record alone.

    (Don't mind restoration though. Nothing wrong with cleaning up scratches etc. that is a wonder of the modern world. :))

    Incredibledisc likes this.
  2. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    I don't like either, Marmite or coloured photos :wink:

    The small photos I found of my father, plus a few badly damaged 56 Recce originals one member sent to me have all been restored to their former glory, without colour. They look much better that way.

  3. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Many serious photographers will tell you that Black and White Photographs are more Aesthetic.

    When doing my own work I did prefer B & W, but used Colour for Holiday Snaps.
  4. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  5. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    What I don't see the point of is colourising really well known photos? Recently saw a few colourised versions of the iconic Frank Hurley photos taken on the Western Front which were, putting it mildly, rubbish and managed to reduce Hurley's work to the very ordinary. Poor.
  6. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    I think Ansel Adams would probably spin in his grave at the thought of his B&W photos being colourized ... :) It could be argued that any kind of reproduction is already a reinterpretation of the original no matter how hard one tries to make it look the same. I'm not against colourization if it's really well done, and gives a new insight to the subject, but I'll take the original any day over the coloured one if offered. So I guess I'm a ditherer.

    Regards ...

    Karsh Photo Colourized.jpg
    RemeDesertRat likes this.
  7. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Good grief that's sacrilege! Always hated falsely coloured photos, even when done contemporarily.

    (Incidentally that's Karsh's master piece of Churchill, not Ansel Adams)
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    You wont like this website then.

    I just Googled ''ww1 colourised photos''.
    Loads of them.
    Some are good & bring a bit of life to the images but others are awful.
  9. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Nearly had one done for gt uncle (WW1), but the quote never came back. Pleased I did not chase it up now. So did a diy job cleaning up the rough bits with Photoshop cloning tool.
  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Ah it's not that bad and not the least bit disrespectful It's titled "Karsh Photo Colourized". I'll add a pretty good B&W version of Karsh's photo of Churchill. That's all it is by the way - a version. Nothing you see in a book or on your computer can match the original be it B&W or done in pink polka dots. In fact most of the B&W repro photos I see are pretty damn crappy. In some cases they been enhanced to look better than the originals. Would you as an author ever consider putting a colourized photo on the cover of a book? You see it all the time nowadays.

    I can't believe I'm actually defending well done colourized photos ... :P

    Regards ...

    Churchill by Karsh.jpg
  11. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Totally agree Cee, no reproduction does a good black and white image justice. There's always a loss in tonaity and sharpness, especially something like Karsh's Churchill photos.
  12. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    There is a colourized photo of my Parents wedding photo, which I don't like. I much prefer the Black and White version.
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I'm not much bothered what other people do with their photos; I wouldn't colourise any b&w images I have though. Don't care enough to vote either. :)

    But there's something about even bona fide WW2 colour photographs that makes me blink twice when I see them .. cos so much was shot in B&W it means in my head/imagination as post-war generation, history/WW2 happened in B&W ... if you know what I'm getting at. (e.g. The Longest Day vs ABTF: the former I think taps into that visual reference quite cleverly)
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I've just seen some pictures of C17th & C18th reenactment groups that someone has digitally converted to Sepia, with added scratches & grain.
    'Cos of course, the battlefield photographers snapping away at Liegnitz & Edgehill would only have been using cameras with a Sepia process.
    There are many forms of digital strangeness...
    dbf likes this.
  15. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    I had this conversation with my Grandfather a few years back I prefer their original media ,black and white /serpia but not for how they look but black/white /serpia makes it seem from a different age a time when the world was black/white (in my minds eye at least ) colour brings these horrors into my world and the realisation that this wasn't really so long ago and it happened HERE,not in the museums or the pages of history books, the people in them are/were real .I think when I was at primary school I might have even thought the world then was Black and white and colour was something new? My Grandfather told me "If I had time to think things like that then I`ve got far too much time on my hands!" He was probably right :)

  16. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

    Some are done well. I don't mind if done well.
  17. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

    We have one of my wife taken in the late fifties. They have reduced the black and white contrast, then added these pastel colours. It looks horrible and I try to keep it hidden away.
  18. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Occasionally it makes sense with something like a classic portrait photo, something that the.....engineer? editor??...is going to take the time and effort really needed over.

    But for smaller pics,or film clips, I dislike it intensely, it masks detail. I was recently involved in a spat over a colorized classic postcard pic; the colorized version had a woman walking down the side of camera shot in a "timeless" yellow dress...but in the original version she was wearing a 1950s skirt, blouse and scarf!
  19. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria.

    I am like Gage if done right no problem to me.
  20. DPas

    DPas Member

    I have clicked that I like it but again would agree that it must be done right.

    I think there is merit in doing it as long as the B+W image is appreciated as the actual image and the colourised one is viewed as an interesting copy.


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