Looking at the old, faded black and white photos brings us closer to history and connects us with some past events. But seeing these pictures in color makes you feel an even stronger connection with the people and events in them.
Young Brazilian restoration artist Marina Amaral colorizes black and white photos and gives them a new, different life. And she does such a magnificent job, that it’s hard to believe the black and white photos were turned into color ones, and not the other way around.
It all started off when Marina decided to combine her fascination with history with her Photoshop skills. She would take black and white historic photos, restore them so they become colorized, giving people a look at history from a new and colorful perspective. And indeed, while I was looking at Marina’s colorized versions of historic images, I had a completely new view of them. I saw many of them a lot of times, but seeing them in color made me feel closer to the people and events in the photos than ever before. Thanks to Marina’s realistic color recreation, it felt as if the photos were made during my time, which made me really connected to them.
But how does Marina achieve such accuracy and does such a great work? First of all, as she explains each photo is made to be realistic by recognizing the value behind each one of them. She aims to respect and preserve their stories, pay attention to the finer details and maintain their original essence.
When she chooses the image, she colors every individual detail by hand in Photoshop. She says that the hundreds of layers of color come together to create the “atmosphere she wants in each image.” This is one of the things I am also pretty fascinated about. Marina doesn’t just add any colors to the images, she creates the same atmosphere as you can feel through a black and white photo.
Other than Photoshop and artistic skills, Marina’s work involves thorough and detailed research. Each of the images is supported by the opinions of experts, so she can be sure to faithfully reproduce the original colors and the atmosphere. She doesn’t start the work before gathering as much information as possible, because it’s what makes the colors historically accurate.
When it comes to the time necessary for finishing one photo, it varies a lot. It can go from 40 minutes to several months. It all depends on the level of complexity and the details in the photo. Her work ranges from simple portraits to complex and detailed images, taken from various historical periods covering a wide range of topics, and here are some more of the images she colorized:
Marina says about her work that “coloring black and white photos is an art that requires a deep work of research, analysis of each object to make it be as realistic as possible, historical knowledge and enough respect to value and preserve every detail in each story. It is a complex process able to transport us to anywhere. ” Indeed, I felt like her work really took me to different places. Like a time machine that helped me get to know history and connect with its actors more than ever before. So other than being a Photoshop master, I believe Marina is a bit of a magician, too.