Color photography changed the landscape of photography forever, and it also changed the way we look at history and photos of historic moments. Although black and white photography is more timeless, putting color into pictures sometimes can give it more life. Color makes a statement and in a way makes a picture more realistic. It can make a picture more memorable. It also leaves a lasting impression.
Black and white photos can often remind us of a distant world that doesn’t seem very real in our eyes simply because we didn’t live it. With new technology emerging every day that improve the skills of artists, historic black and white photos from the past are now being colorized, and they are beautiful.
Here are 24 colorized photos that will take your breath away.
1. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America, in 1860. This photo was colorized by Dana Keller.
2. This colorized photo was taken in Auschwitz in 1944. It shows the arrival of Jewish women and children at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
3. This photo of Charlie Chaplin from 1920 has a James Dean-esque vibe to it, don’t you agree?
4. Jazz icon Louis Armstrong poses for a photo in New York in 1946.
5. This infamous photo of Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield from 1957 is one of the most popular and scandalous photos of its time. The photo was taken in Hollywood at a party which was held in honor of Sophia for making her very first American film.
6. A photo from the Peninsular Campaign between May and August of 1862. The group sits in front of a tent at Camp Winfield Scott in 1862.
7. This portrait of a woman from 1900 looks more like a painting than a real person.
8. A colorized photo of the beautiful Marilyn Monroe in Hollywood in 1953.
9. This picture of a model floating in the water looks as if it could be a modern day movie poster. The photo was taken by Toni Frissell in Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida, 1947.
10. This colorized photo of Winston Churchill in 1941 was taken by Yousuf Karsh and has since been colorized by artist Zuzahin.
11. A young boy smokes a cigarette in the slums of Baltimore in July 1938.
12. Although this photo of Japanese archers looks like it could have been taken today, it was actually taken in 1860. This photo has since been colorized by artist Jordan J. Lloyd.
13. An unemployed lumber worker sits with a woman in 1939.
14. Albert Einstein and David Rothman sit on a rock and have a conversation in 1939. This photo was taken during the summer of 1939 at Nassau Point in Peconic, New York, on eastern Long Island.
15. Comedy duo and legendary double act Laurel and Hardy (Stan Laurel and Oliver hardy) in 1939.
16. A young Clint Eastwood in 1962. If you ever had trouble picturing Clint Eastwood as a young man, this colorized photo will give you a great idea of what he looked like in his younger days.
17. This is another colorized photo done by Dana Keller. It is a photo of Albert Einstein, taken in 1911.
18. This photo of a monk on fire in 1963 is shocking enough to see in black and white, but when color is added, it is both astonishing and disturbing. This photo was taken in the month of June in Saigon, Vietnam.
19. Elvis Presley sits with his wife Priscilla Presley and daughter Lisa Marie Presley in 1968.
20. Al Capone, the famous American gangster, sits for a photo in Chicago, 1931. Although this photo was taken in 1931, it was only in recent years colorized by artist Marina Amaral.
21. American Baptist minister and civil rights activist Martin Luther King on August 28, 1963.
22. Queen Elizabeth II poses for a camera as she reads a book in 1940. What are your thoughts on colorized photos of famous historic figures? Do they make the photo seem more realistic?
23. The beautiful and iconic actress and dancer Rita Hayworth poses for a photo in 1941 during the height of her popularity and fame.
24. A stunning photo of Elizabeth Taylor in 1956. This photo looks like it could have been taken today by a professional photographer, and captures all the beauty and elegance that was Elizabeth Taylor.