Tag Archives: old photos

By Adding Color To Famous Photographs, This Artist Forces Us To Confront The Past

There are certain images that become inseparable from the human psyche over time — photographs that capture human history in a series of familiar snapshots.

Whether you’ve dedicated your life to historical study or you’re a casual consumer of the past, you probably associate tattered, striped uniforms with one of the most devastating tragedies in human history, and the file in your mind marked “Civil Disobedience” is probably labeled with horrific pictures of a monk on fire. But in those images, stripes aren’t white and blue. Fire burns in monochromatic plumes.

And for that reason, we’re able to draw a bold line between past and present — us and them. While black and white images are powerful, they’re also remote. They signify some elusive “other.” In an effort to not only blur that line, but to erase it completely, artist Marina Amaral colorizes history’s most ubiquitous imagery.

“Looking at photographs in black and white creates obstacles,” Amaral explained to ViralNova. “This is especially true when we want to establish emotional connections with the past.”

“When a photo is in color,” she writes, “it is no longer distant. It represents something that could’ve happened yesterday.”

Before she begins the colorization process, the artist spends countless hours pinning down the story behind each image. “I use color to help viewers see the past in the same way that people did when the photo was taken,” she said.

It’s this sense of proximity that Amaral aims to achieve in her work, and her success in that regard is undeniable.


Her efforts push important moments in history so close to us that we can reach out and touch them.

Amaral’s mission is clearest in her most unsettling images. Photographs that were once allowed to slip into some hidden, immutable space are fundamentally changed and impossible to ignore.

“I hope people can appreciate my work,” she writes. “I’m not trying to replace the original images. Instead, I want to offer a second perspective.”

When confronted with her work, we’re suddenly unable to comfortably throw the past in sharp relief against the present.


The fact of the matter is that these images make us run through the gamut of human emotion, with responses ranging from joy to discomfort to total despair.

While Amaral always hopes to give her audience a more authentic sense of the past, this endeavor is also deeply personal.

“My knowledge of human history grows with each colorization,” she writes. “The process helps me develop a more empathetic vision of the way things were. To me, there’s nothing better than that.”

To see more of Marina Amaral’s work, be sure to check out her website. For regular updates, follow her on Twitter.

Here Are Some Of The Oldest Surviving Photographs Known To Man.

Today, we live in a world that’s obsessed with taking selfies on iPhones. There are a great many people who still appreciate the value of real photography, but the masses are more concerned with the cameras on their smartphones. I’ll let you know, though, it wasn’t always that easy to snap a photo.

Photography has come a long way since the early days. Have a look at some of the oldest surviving photographs known to man. (Disregard the fact that almost everyone is incredibly grumpy in these pictures. That’s just how things were back then.)

1.) Andrew Leyden stands with his Right and Left Hand men.

2.) Boulevard du Temple, a daguerreotype taken by Louis Daguerre.

3.) A photograph of Dorothy Catherine Draper, John Draper’s sister.

4.) View from the Window at Le Gras, the world’s first photograph by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.

5.) A calotype print showing the American photographer Frederick Langenheim.

6.) A daguerreotpye that is known as the first known photograph of Wilmington.

7.) This photograph of First and Oakland is from the “Howdy Neighbor” section of an unidentified 1942 Columbus newspaper.

8.) Robert Cornelius, an American pioneer of photography, takes possibly the world’s first selfie.

9.) A photograph of John Quincy Adams.

These nearly-ancient photographs are amazing… but they make me appreciate my iPhone even more. Imagine having to sit still for over a minute, just to capture ONE photo? It seems insane, now, to think about. 

Share these early photos from history with others by clicking on the button below.

What These Alligators Do Will Shock You. But Definitely Not In The Way You Would Expect. Weird.

The Los Angeles Alligator Farm was a pretty crazy place as seen from these old photos from the Los Angeles Public Library. Located next door to the Los Angeles Ostrich Farm in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA, it served as both an alligator farm and a major city tourist attraction from 1907 until 1953. It was eventually shut down in 1984 after the annual attendance dropped below 50,000. All the animals were relocated to a private estate in Florida.

The 1920s wasn’t a period of many safety regulations.

Even for kids.

Or dogs.

“I’ll take a glass of your finest milk, barkeep!”

Newborn baby alligators being counted, and boxed for some insane reason.

Nothing beats a nice relaxing massage.

She’s in her 100s now, but I bet this is her Facebook profile picture.

Looked like a pretty crazy place where people got a bit too up close and personal to the gators for my taste. Source: The Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection Share these antique photos with your friends below.