Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS
  • REVIEWS
  • INSPIRATION
  • COMMUNITY
  • COMPETITIONS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here


Changing history??


macroman 11 15.3k England
19 Jan 2012 12:23PM

Quote:So you don't agree with adjusting white balance for dramatic effect...? or making sunsets 'more dramatic' by saturating or adding contrast?


I can see no problem with doing it to your own work, but what about the morality of altering someone elses historic images.
And then havig the cheek to put a copyright watermark on them!

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

mikehit e2
5 6.8k 11 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2012 12:26PM

Quote:I prefer my history to be as accurate as possible.

So you want a news photograph to accurately show what was happening Tongue so I think we can chuck out a huge proportion of news photos: a momentary expression on a politician's face used to imply that he is telling porkies, photos of demonstrations taken from an angle to suggest hundreds people were there instead of just 20 or so etc etc.


Quote:A real colour photograph would tell us the correct colour for someone's sweater,

If you are arguing about shades of blue, then would you rely on 50-year old film to tell you the 'truth'?

I fully accept you prefer the B&W versions but I just think you are stretching points to justify it.

It seems to me that with the older photographs she has chosen to add a faded colour sympathetic with the age of the picture.
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2012 12:30PM
Agreed Macroman.

Depending whether I guess Einstein's sweater to be red, dark green blue or pink would influence what other people thought of him after seeing that photograph. If uninformed picture editors started to choose that photograph instead of the original history is slightly rewritten.

If photos like this were to become famous you could imagine them on a round of QI's General Ignorance, Hitler's Favorite Colour Alan?
Kris_Dutson 12 8.2k 1 England
19 Jan 2012 12:30PM

Quote:I prefer my history to be as accurate as possible.


So until man invented colour photography around about 1855, we all saw in black and white then? Wink

Anyway, there's plenty of colour images available back 'til then that can be used as reference for colouring mono images. Smile
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2012 12:32PM

Quote:there's plenty of colour images available back 'til then that can be used as reference for colouring mono images


PMSL, all those people in that queue will have reference colour photos then?


Quote:a momentary expression on a politician's face used to imply that he is telling porkies,


Just as bad. Two wrongs don't make a right Mike
Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
19 Jan 2012 12:39PM
Is changing colour to B&W = changing history then?
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2012 12:44PM
No because you're making less information available. (The colours that people are wearing). But when you go the other way you are inventing information
KathyW 11 1.8k 12 Norfolk Island
19 Jan 2012 12:46PM
Can't see what all the fuss is about... hand tinting B&W photographs is nothing new, even got some of granny in the family album which were originally colourless.

Personally I think it's okay to do what you like with your own work but wrong to mess with other people's photographs like this. I prefer most of the shots in mono anyway... Tongue
Big Bri 13 15.6k United Kingdom
19 Jan 2012 12:58PM
The migrant mother photo definitely has more impact in the original. Many of them look too modern with the added colour (because we expect them to be in B&W?) so for instance the Churchill shot makes my brain think it must be a modern lookalike...


The burning monk definitely adds more impact in colour though.

Depends whether there is a danger of these being accepted as originals or whether they are always shown in the context of being re-coloured.

Adding a new copyright message though is a damn cheek!
spaceman 10 5.2k 3 Wales
19 Jan 2012 12:59PM
The opinions that matter most are those of the photographers but few, if any of them, are available for comment.

It's bad enough that modern b/w photo journaliism is on the verge of extinction, now people are trying to erase it from history. Sad
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2012 1:00PM
Mucking around with the white balance is one thing. Going through old photos and inventing colours is another.

Change pictures of people's Irish ancestors and start splashing the orange or green about in the wrong place and you'd risk upsetting their children and grandchildren. "My father would never wear that colour".

That's why some people, including me, are uneasy about this kind of work no matter how well done it is.
macroman 11 15.3k England
19 Jan 2012 1:42PM
Colouring old news pictures does not change history directly, but if used in news/editorial situations could have an impact on the readers view of the events.

Those gritty B&W pics of the 30s depression for instance would not be the same in full 'natural' colour.
And images of 'cheerful plucky brits' coping with the aftermath of the Blitz, would they have the same impact in colour?

I don't know, It's a personal thing to some extent, we are so used to everything in colour nowadays, but B&W generally has the ability to create a more graphic image.

On the other hand, how about Van Goch's 'Sunflowers' in B&W, or straighten up some of Picasso's wacky portaits, where will it end? Grin

I recently watched 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' on TV and was surprised to see it in colour, I had expected it to be B&W for some reason.
Those 'Leetle Old Grey Cells' play tricks.
scartlane 3 68 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2012 1:59PM
I think most of them do look better the black and white, but the monk one, and the migrant worker should deffo stay in black and white,
Not sure the dariwn pic should be coloured, it looses its historical "air" i think.

The civil war pic,,,, im a little confused, i didnt think the Confederate army had brown pants,
I thought it was all shades of blue.
That as a faily big mistake, is the reason i wouldnt like to see this rolled out across any more historical pics, they are almost faking what happened, giving us false information,
For me these photographs are a record of what happend, if the colours are wrong then it kinda defeats the object.
User_Removed 10 17.9k 8 Norway
19 Jan 2012 2:08PM
Stunning. Thanks for sharing this.
Jestertheclown 6 6.4k 241 England
19 Jan 2012 2:19PM
Good aren't they?
As for changing history; that's not actually possible.
All that's being done here is to show us how the record of certain events from history might have looked, had they been shot in colour.
Personally , I can accept them for being just that. Alternatively if anyone wants to see the shots as a more accurate record, versions of the "originals" are still around.
The choice is yours.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.