If a picture is worth a thousand words, what stories are the images from our past telling?

You’ve probably seen images floating around online of old black and white photographs that have been artfully reimagined in color. From iconic photos of Abraham Lincoln to quieter scenes from day to day life, these colorized images are entrancing.

Colorized photograph from 1909 of Russian peasant girls
Source: Library of Congress // Wikimedia Commons

Somehow, with the addition of color, the people in these photographs feel more alive, more real, like somebody we could bump into on the street. They are no longer dusty relics of a long forgotten past, but in some ways living, breathing. Why is that?

To help us understand the power these remarkable images have, let’s hear from a few of the artists who are working to colorize them and change our perspective on the past in this wonderful video brought to us from the YouTube Channel, Vox.  (Note to those with sensitive ears, educators and parents: the artist being interviewed in this important piece does drop the F-bomb once.)

Via: Vox 1

Why are these images so powerful?

Are we entranced by the juxtaposition of color with scenes so obviously from a long forgotten time? Are we entranced by the novelty? Are we drawn in by being able to see into the eyes of people who are no longer with us?

6 minutes

Great Photographers on What Makes an Iconic Image

What makes an image iconic, even life changing? Hear some of the world's best photographers talk about powerful photography and how it connects us!

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In color, suddenly the past doesn’t seem so far away. It isn’t someone else’s once colorful memory, but now a story; a scene that any one of us could see our selves stepping into. This art form has the power to truly alter our notions about history. As Jorand Lloyd so beautifully put it,

“You no longer see history as a linear timeline, rather its a tapestry of all these extremely rich moments.” -Jordan Lloyd

We are never as far removed from history as it may seem, and great photography gives us a unique bridge with which to connect to our past.

10 minutes

A Photographer’s Life Changing Stories

Photographers bring the world to our living rooms and have witnessed much of life on this planet. Here are two stories that changed one photographer's life, and the lessons they taught him...

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Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

Now that you’re seeing the past in a new way…

Explore some hidden gems from our history by diving into our collection!

History on EWC

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Did you click on that button up there? No? You really should. Our history is what makes us, you know.

Notes:

  1. “How Obsessive Artists Colorize Old Photos.” YouTube. Vox, 30 May 2017. Web. 13 Dec. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vubuBrcAwtY>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV