Retrographic: The world’s most iconic black & white images brought to life in color
There’s an incredibly talented online community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers who spend their free time bringing iconic black-and-white photography to life in color. You typically find their work on Facebook, Reddit, or occasionally featured on photo blogs, but we’ve never seen it published in any official printed capacity we’d want to display on a coffee table… until now.
Retrographic: History’s Most Exciting Images Transformed Into Living Color is a photo book released in September that any photo lover would be proud to own and display. A labor of love created alongside the aforementioned colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers, the book is the brain-child of author, photo-curator, and Royal Photographic Society member Michael D. Carroll.
“Through the careful selection of striking images and dedicated colorization research, Retrographic takes the reader on a visual tour of the distant past,” explains Carroll. “Many of these moments are already burned into our collective memory through the power of photography as shared by people across the 190-year long Age of the Image. And now, these visual time capsules are collected together for the first time and presented in living color.”
The book contains 120 images in all, including some of the most iconic and influential in history—The Burning Monk, V-J Day in Times Square, The Wright Brothers’ First Flight, and many many more. As Carroll explained to us over email, the idea was to present people with a photographic history they could more easily relate to:
There is a tendency for people of the present to look back at history in black and white, which can be highly aesthetic in that black and white makes the subject look pleasing to many people. However, black and white can make the viewer feel detached from the subject. We hope that adding color breathes life into historical images and reconnects people to those who went before and helps us to understand and empathize with them.
And if the colorized photos aren’t enough, the book’s remaining 73 pages are filled will “informational gems” and narrative, including a forward by Royal Photographic Society Ambassador Jeff Vickers.