Sunday, March 23, 2014

Life in Color

Experimentation with color photography really began in the 1840s. Many photographers did not print their photos in color, however, until much later. Thinking about this, I realized that all of the historic photographs I have researched or learned about are in black and white. Of course the people who witnessed and lived previous times saw everything in color, but us as historians and researchers have never gotten the full meaning of certain pictures due to their lack of color. Does this mean that these photos are less real for us? Do we obtain a different meaning through these photos because they are black and white?

When browsing through the "Real" World Magazine, the article which intrigued me was the one which brought color to some famous photographs throughout history. When looking through these pictures I realized how much more realistic they were in color. Each detail was so prominent it made me really examine each situation more in depth. In each photographs black and white state, I guess I just accepted the emotions being portrayed. With color, on the other hand, it gave the picture more meaning.

So, how does color affect how you look at each picture? Does color make a photograph more “real," or is it the opposite way around? Does the aspect of color depend on what is being displayed?

Below are photographs which I think portray these ideas more simply, but just as effective. 


  1. This made me think about the idea of colorizing or digitally enhancing photos. Does colorizing an old B&W photo from the past make that photo more real, or less real? In what way does digitally manipulating an image corrupt the reality of the photo? In what way is the photo already separate from the "real" that was being photographed? In what ways could digitally manipulating an image make it MORE "real"? Great questions to ponder!

  2. I read an article that explained that the Addams Family set was actually mostly pink because shades of red will show as black in black and white film. Had we watched the show in color we would have seen the morbid family walking around in rooms that seem to belong in Victoria Secret. The Addams Family would have an entirely different meaning to us in color. Which is more real: the live pink set, or the dark one that appeared on television? At first, you want to say that the pink set is more real because it was tangible. However, when it comes to cultural importance, I would say that maybe the depicted black and white set is more real.


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