Saturday, January 23, 2016

Colorized Historical Photographs

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Byter Leo sent me an email captioned ‘Fantastic Black and White Photos Colorized’.

The intro accompanying the email reads as follows:
These 53 colorized photos from the past will blow you away. 
Up until the 1970s, color photography was rare, and so when we think about history prior to that time, we often envision it in black and white. Today's technology now enables us to 'colorize' historical photos, giving us our only chance at seeing what the world really looked like back then. And it was truly spectacular. Take a trip back in time through these photos below. 
It's quite incredible to see Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein in living color.

Some of the photos in the collection sent to me have been posted in Bytes before, mostly in black and white. Colourisation adds an immediacy that is not present in black and white.

I will post the photos, including the ones that have been in Bytes in the past, from time to time in groups of 3 or so, with some comments added by me.

Hopefully you will find them as interesting and fascinating as I do.
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1.  Claude Monet, 1923 


Some comments:
  • Oscar-Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was a founder of French Impressionist painting, a 19th century art movement.
  • Impressionist painting characteristics include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles.
  • The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon de Paris. The name of the art work prompted the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satirical review published in the Parisian newspaper Le Charivari. His article, The Exhibition of the Impressionists, declared that the painting was at most, a sketch.

Claude Monet’s Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), 1872,
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2. Brigadier General and actor Jimmy Stewart. 
Stewart flew 20 combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe, and even flew one mission during Vietnam. 


Some comments:
  • James Maitland "Jimmy" Stewart (1908 – 1997) was an American actor, known for his distinctive drawl and down-to-earth persona. He starred in many films that are considered to be classics, and is known for portraying an American middle-class man struggling with a crisis.
  • Stewart’s enlistment in March, 1941 made him the first major American movie star to wear a military uniform in World War II. As a bomber pilot, he flew 20 official sorties in highly dangerous conditions, including bombing attacks on Berlin, and continued to fly uncredited missions after having been reassigned. He finished the war a full colonel, one of only a few Americans to rise from private to colonel in 4 years.
  • Stewart received two Distinguished Flying Crosses for actions in combat and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He also received the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Receiving French Croix de Guerre with Palm in 1944
  • At the beginning of June 1945, Stewart was the presiding officer of the court-martial of a pilot and navigator who were charged with dereliction of duty for having accidentally bombed the Swiss city of Zurich the previous March—the first instance of U.S. personnel being tried for an attack on a neutral country. The court acquitted the defendants.
  • Stewart continued to play a role in the Army Air Forces Reserve following World War II and the new United States Air Force Reserve after the establishment of the Air Force as an independent service in 1947. 
  • In 1959, Stewart was promoted to brigadier general. During his active duty periods, he remained current as a pilot of intercontinental bombers of the Strategic Air Command. In 1966, Brigadier General Stewart flew as a non-duty observer in a B-52 on a bombing mission during the Vietnam War. He refused the release of any publicity regarding his participation, as he did not want it treated as a stunt, but as part of his job as an officer in the Air Force Reserve. After 27 years of service, Stewart retired from the Air Force on May 31, 1968
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3. Pablo Picasso 


Some comments:
  • Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, also known as Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973), was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. 
  • One of Picasso’s most famous works, Guernica, depicts the bombing and aerial attack on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. Carried out by the German and Italian airforces at the behest of the Spanish nationalist government, it is one of the first raids on a defenceless civilian population by a modern air force.


  • Picasso’s painting depicts the horror and brutality of what had taken place.
  • During WW2 he was resident in Paris but unable to show his works because his style did not fit Nazi acceptability. He was often harassed by the Gestapo. During one search of his apartment, an officer saw a photograph of the painting Guernica. "Did you do that?" the German asked Picasso. "No," he replied, "You did".
  • The Paul McCartney/Wings song Picasso's Last Words (Drink To Me) was written during a dinner party Paul and Linda McCartney had in Montego Bay, Jamaica with the actor Dustin Hoffman.
       According To McCartney:
On one of our Jamaican holidays we had heard that Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen were around, shooting the film Papillon. We were invited to visit the set and Dustin asked us back to his house for dinner. He was asking me how I write songs; I explained that I just make them up. He said, Can you make up a song about anything?' I wasn't sure, but he pulled out a copy of Time, pointed to an article and said, 'Could you write a song about this? It was a quote from Picasso, from the last night of his life. Apparently, he had said to his friends, 'Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can't drink anymore,' and then gone to bed and died in his sleep. So I picked up a guitar, started to strum and sing 'Drink to me, drink to my health...', and Dustin was shouting to his wife, 'He's doing it! He's doing it! Come and listen!' It's something that comes naturally to me but he was blown away by it. And that song became Picasso’s Last Words.

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