I for one have always been filled with an extreme sense of fascination and wonderment whenever I encountered a historical image or video restored with colour. I always seem to become slightly hypnotized, lured into a daydream by sheer realism. As someone who was born in the late 80’s whenever I try to imagine what life must have been like before colour photography came along I am always at a loss, as the photographic documentation that exists although still beautiful in its own regard, when in black and white for me at least, I find it turns those events captured into relics of the past, more so imagery to be admired as art rather than a moment in time that was once as real as today and only for the luck of the cosmological birth lottery is it that I managed to skip such events.
Thanks to the evolution of technology is it that such restoration is now becoming more frequent and of a higher quality, being shared throughout the internet and teleporting us from our office chairs back into the depths of history, transforming us bystanders into participants almost.
Testing a Hydrogen Bomb
Happy Easter Adolf (1944-45)
Sailer reads to child while waiting for a train at Waterloo station, London (1927)
Lt. Custer and Union Troops (1862)
Harvest of Death (July 1863)
This photo captured by Irishman Timothy H. O’Sullivan, forever depicts Union soldiers who lost their lives at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Two survivors of the Battle of Gettysburg reunite for the 50th anniversary (1913)
Two British Soldiers getting accustomed to shooting while wearing gas masks. (28th March 1936)
British troops board a train for the first stage of their trip to the Western Front (September 20, 1939)
The above photographs have all been restored from black and white but here are some photos of Ireland that were taken using Autochrome Lumière, which is an early color photography process. These could very well be some of first colour photos ever taken of Ireland.
Main Ní Tuathail, a 14 year old girl from the Claddagh wearing traditional Claddagh dress. (Galway, Ireland, 26th May 1913)
Mother of seven making fringes for knitted shawls, (Galway, Ireland, 29 May 1913)
For more of these old photos of Ireland taken using Autochrome you should check out this page http://antoilean.blogspot.ie/2012/12/old-colour-photos-of-ireland-in-1913.html its filled with them.
Credit goes to the users of http://www.reddit.com/r/ColorizedHistory for all other restorations.
Here is a very sobering video filled with restored clips of combat taken throughout World War One. The idea of being bogged down in muddy trenches under the stress of war is so alien to most of us, that videos such as this really are a treasure when stumbled upon.
If you want to see more like this check out the documentary World War I in Color.