24 historic photos made even more amazing with color

The world was not black and white until the 1950s. We know this, of course, but sometimes, it’s difficult to put the images that shape our perceptions in this context. The history of war photography can take us all the way back to see Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, the architect of Napoleon Bonaparte’s downfall. Most of us can only imagine seeing the people of this era in the form of a painting, but paintings are meant to be dramatized, to be surreal, not true to life.

Of all the sections available on reddit, few are more engaging and interesting than r/ColorizedHistory (also, now available via Twitter).

The contributors are both amateur and professional artists, taking historical photos — both famous and lesser known — and adding true color to them, using a mixture of natural talent for color and historical research. their work is not limited to military photos, but there are many to be found there. Here are some of their best, in color as vibrant as human history itself.

1. Civil war veterans at Gettysburg anniversary. A Union veteran and a Confederate veteran shake hands at the Assembly Tent, 1913.

Civil war veterans at Gettysburg anniversary A Union veteran and a Confederate veteran shake hands at the Assembly Tent, 1913

2. This is Nashville from the Capital building during the Civil War in 1864. Colorized by Sanna Dullaway.
Nashville from Capital building during Civil War 1864

3. Here is a group of boot-blacks surrounding an old Civil War veteran in 1935 Pennsylvania. Colorized by Sanna Dullaway.
A group of bootblacks gather around an old Civil War veteran in Pennsylvania, 1935

4. This portrait of President Abraham Lincoln was taken toward the end of the Civil War, in Feb. 1865. Even without color, one could see the toll the war took on the president. In color, the hardship seems drastic. Color by Redditor zuzahin.
Abraham Lincoln by Alexander Gardner towards the end of the war, taken in February of 1865

5. This 1899 photo of shipmates boxing on the deck of the USS New York was brought to life by Ryan Urban.

Boxing on the USS New YOrk 1899

6. British troops on their way to the Western Front, 1939.
British troops cheerfully board their train for the first stage of their trip to the western front - England, September 20, 1939. (i1.minus.com)

7. This photo was originally taken in San Francisco the day after the Bombing of Pearl Harbor. Also colorized by Sanna Dullaway.
San Francisco December 8 1941

8. These British soldiers are wearing gas masks to protect their eyes while peeling onions at Tobruk, Oct. 15 1941. Color by Jared Enos.
Soldiers wearing gas masks while peeling onions at Tobruk, 15 October 1941.

9. “Here lies an unknown English Lieutenant killed in air combat.” Western Desert, Egypt, 1941. Color by Lalz Kuczynski.
unk

10. Below is the crew of the USS Hornet manning their 40mm guns in 1945.
40mm guns firing aboard USS Hornet, February 1945

11. A Stuart light tank, fitted with a hedge cute and heavily sandbagged against ‘panzerfausts,’ supports U.S. infantry in the bocage, July, 1944.
16299272123_5c062f1030_h

12. An American medic treats a badly wounded German soldier.
GI Medic treating Nazi Soldier

13. Russian children watch the Luftwaffe bomb their city during Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
Russian Kids During Barbarossa watching bombs

14. A typical Marine aid station on Saipan, during the Pacific War in 1944. Color by Jared Enos.
A typical Marine aid station on Saipan during World War II. Pictured are are members of 3:24. July, 1944.

15. The face of an 18-year-old Russian girl after she was liberated from the Dachau Concentration Camp in April 1945.
8 year old Russian girl being liberated from Dachau, April 29 '45

16. “A Yank in Versailles” Pvt. Gordon Conrey of Milford, N.H., one of the first Americans to visit Versailles after its liberation from the Germans in 1944, standing in the Hall of Mirrors.
Yank

17. Soldiers with the 2nd Armored Division sing “Go to Town” in Barento, France, 1944. Color by Jared Enos.

2nd

18. Two Sikhs man a Bren Gun in Italy, 1944.
Sikhs on Bren Gun Italy 1944

19. Two U.S. soldiers of 3rd Infantry Division seek shelter behind a M-4 Sherman tank near Du?ren, Germany, December 1944. Color by Jared Enos.
Two U.S. soldiers of C Company, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division seek shelter behind a M-4 Sherman tank at Geich, near Düren, Germany, on 11 December 1944.

20. Times Square on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Color by Jared Enos.
Times Square DDay

21. Members of the Tuskegee Airmen.Colorized Tuskegee Airmen

22. Stalin and Churchill in Livadia Palace during the Yalta Conference, February 1945. Color by Redditor zuzahin.
Stalin and Churchill in Livadia Palace during the Yalta Conference, February 1945

23. Russian women and children recently liberated from a German concentration camp lay flowers at the bodies of four dead American soldiers.
Russian women and children recently liberated from a German concentration camp lay flowers at the bodies of 4 dead American soldiers

24. Nazi General Anton Dostler facing the Firing Squad in 1945 after being found guilty of war crimes. Color by Mads Madsen.
Nazi General Dostler facing Firing Squad 1945

(If you colored any of the photos shown, please email me at blake.stilwell@wearethemighty.com and I’ll add your credit.)

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