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January 30, 2005

Colorizing War

The Crimean War, US Civil War, Boer War, WWI, WWII, and Korea, are, in my mind, "black and white" wars. Not in terms of war aims and justifications - but because they were photographed in black and white. For wars prior to that, much of what passes for visuals are oil paintings, in color. Even the wars of the ancients are that way for me - as that is how the artists of later centuries painted their visions of what they were like. Not so the wars listed above. They were the wars covered when black and white phototgraphy was king. The wars since have been covered in color.

So I always have a little sense of bemusement when I visit actual sites, and they don't match my mental images. Or go to museums and see just how colorful camo schemes could be.

I don't mind Ted Turner's colorization of black and white movies. You'll notice it's a trend that didn't really last long - partially because they discovered that the Directors and Cameramen and Wardrobe Designers and Set Decorators knew what they were doing - they understood their medium and chose colors that would look right IN BLACK AND WHITE. And sometimes they just looked weird in color. Sometimes it worked, however, and unlike some purists, I didn't mind.

Same thing is true for colorizing old photos. It won't be exact, but it will be close - and things will come alive in ways that black and white doesn't. Some pictures - the flag raising on Iwo Jima for example, to me are just better photos in B&W, others, like the shot I show you in this post, benefit from colorization.

We've got the technology, we don't damage the originals, why not? If I ever remember to buy a lottery ticket, much less a winning one, or Ted Kennedy wraps himself around a tree because he was getting **** and driving drunk and it turns out I'm his unacknowledged illegitimate child and I inherit a chunk of Kennedy money - well, after getting SWWBO a new Castle, expanding the holdings, and indulging my desire for an armored car... I just might set up an operation devoted to colorizing those wars.

Especially the mundane. Like this.

Hat tip to CAPT H for sharing the link.