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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Life was not in black and white

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  #21  
Old 10-02-2009, 12:05 PM
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sergio2263 sergio2263 is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Life was not in black and white

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Originally Posted by aartist View Post
Helen, great work! Both photos are wonderful!
Thaks for your nice comment on my work, I take much pride in colourizing my vintage photos.
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  #22  
Old 10-02-2009, 12:32 PM
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sergio2263 sergio2263 is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Life was not in black and white

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OlBaldy, thanks for posting the cartoon link. I just read it and thought it was hilarious. Especially when Hobbes said he takes naps and waits for dinner when the world gets too complicated!

Helen, if anyone prefers black and white, it's very easy to attain that with a color photo. For the most part, it's a choice between Dull and Exciting. Between Dim and Powerfully real. My choice is with you!!!

Craig, yes, some see colorizing as a lie and I know some people would never want it done to their photos. They want them left alone as they are, sometimes even with the rips and creases. Understandable to be sure. I've seen some god-awful colorizing jobs but Helen's are exquisite.

It's funny how people fall one way or the other, just like many things in life. I have a friend that thought it was terrible when the old black and white movies were colorized a couple decades back. They hated it. Yet, this friend has no problem with her personal photos being colorized, she actually "LOVES IT". I think it is because of what Helen speaks of, "It brings it to LIFE. By the way, those old movies were horribly done, but I still liked them anyway, so I must be a die hard color fan.
Thanks for your nice comments I put a lot of love in my colouring, you cannot beat colour it give lots to talk about just imaging Leonardo Da Vinci's and other Artists' work in black and white. I've colourized many photos and most people feel it brought their photos to life like it was yesterday that's what I try to achieve and I like you i'm a die hard colour fan.
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  #23  
Old 11-29-2009, 06:37 PM
cyberphonics cyberphonics is offline
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Re: Life was not in black and white

I think negative reactions often have to do with whether or not the attempt at adding color to a black and white image was actually done well or not.

I've seen some black and white images given color and it looked interesting and great. I've also seen some that made the image worse, which obviously made me say, "Why didn't they just leave it alone?!"

For my own photography, it's mostly about what looks better to my eyes. Some images look great in color. Some look better in black and white. It's that simple. My philosophy in life is that if you're on the extreme end of any belief, you're probably wrong, because life is a series of compromises and exceptions, not absolutes.

So I'm neither pro b&w nor pro color.
Like most things, it depends.

I personally leave the whole "but real life isn't like that" argument out of the creative things I do. If we limit ourselves to only replicating real life as we all see it, there really wouldn't be much creativity at all.

I've heard fellow filmmakers drag that argument into debates about filmmaking being superior to photography because "in real life, people move". Even though filmmaking matters a thousand times more to me than my photography, I still find that opinion ridiculous.

Once you get into the mindset that things are more "alive" just because they look more like life, the same can be said for anything (see; the comment about life not being two-dimensional either, which was attempting to make a similar point).

So I'd personally never say that I prefer something be in color just because things are actually in color in real life. I prefer whatever looks best and tells the story I want to tell by keeping the focus where I want to keep it.

If color isn't what I want you to be paying attention to - only something like form and contrast - I don't need color. And who's to say that we are all seeing the same blue sky? Who's to say that any of us view the world and its colors and textures the same way?

Even a photograph in and of itself isn't depicting the way life looks. It's depicting the way the one who takes it interprets what he sees. Not what "everyone" sees.

His interpretation is defined by when he chose to take the photo, how he chose to frame the subject, how he chose to focus, how he chose to angle the shot, how he chose to have people/objects pose or sit in the photo, if at all. How he chose to light it.

The same can be said for color, especially with vintage photos. Maybe someone took a black and white photograph of a lady in a dress. Who's to say he wasn't colorblind and didn't notice the color or depth of the dress? Who's to say he even cared? Who's to say what color it was in the first place or what shade? Sometimes you know, sometimes you don't.

Point is, just because color exists doesn't mean that's the way the person who shot the image was viewing the world that they chose to capture.

If you add color to their image, maybe you're improving it, maybe you're not. Either way, it's now your interpretation of the world that was being depicted, not theirs. Even if they did prefer that it be in color, it's still your vision of what colors they were and in what shades they appeared to be at that moment and how they should be now.

You can never know what was in the mind or eye of the one who took the picture unless you ask them, so it's too general of an assumption to say, "I'm sure they only shot in black and white because they couldn't shoot in color".

We're capable of shooting in color now, yet many people still choose to shoot black and white photographs. I doubt it's because they mistakingly think life doesn't have color in it. I'd rather guess that it's because that's the way they want to express and capture what they see.

While I couldn't imagine any of Da Vinci's colorful paintings in black and white, they're not in black and white and he wasn't limited to using only black and white, which means they were created with color in mind.

There's a difference between what you would shoot in color and what you would shoot in black and white, which is why you can't always just take an image that's one and photoshop it to be another and have it retain the same impact or value.

That's why you still have tons of people asking how to get all of their color photos to look really stunning in black and white. You can't get all of them to look stunning in black and white because not all color photos are good for it.

Many color photos are only good photos in the first place because of the interesting use of color in them. Take that away and it sometimes becomes more noticeable that the bones of the image beyond that are weak.

So there's no question that it would be hard trying to imagine one of Da Vinci's color paintings in black and white. That doesn't mean color is superior. They weren't meant to be black and white. Besides, who knows, some of them might look good in black and white whether we can visualize it or not.

The real question is, if Da Vinci had painted dozens of incredible works of art using only black and white paint, would you say, eh, it'd be better in color just because it's not?

There's so much more to a photograph or a painting than just the color. It's one element of many that are all working in conjunction to create an overall effect. Sometimes color adds to it. Sometimes color takes away from it.

The original poster can't understand why someone would be so opposed to ever adding color to a black and white image. I equally can't understand someone who just wants to slap color onto everything as if nothing can be bold and striking or, at the very least, perfectly fine without it.

Black and white is not always dull and flat.
Color is not always vivid and full of life.

That's my opinion of the subject of adding color to black and white images in general. In terms of photo restoration, I think some people react negatively to tinting because in their minds, restoration means restoring the image to its original condition - not changing it.

Adding color may be closer to what the camera was actually seeing, but the image they had - the final product, the original product, the actual picture itself that they held in their hands and that sat in their album for generations - was in black and white.

Some people want it left that way and I don't find that unreasonable. Picture inviting someone into your historical home and asking them to restore the one-of-a-kind white wood trim around the door and the gray stained glass original to the house.

How would you feel if they painted the white wood trim black and replaced the gray stained glass pieces with rainbow colors?

Since you love color so much, you may not be bothered by that, but for those who are passionate about maintaining historical homes, staying true to the colors and materials used in the home as it was originally is something you don't betray for personal taste, only livability (like running electricity through a historical home that originally had none because you're now living in it).

To collectors, vintage items lose value when anything is changed as opposed to only being restored. An original cabinet exactly how it was crafted by a 13th century artist is worth much more than it would be if the knobs were replaced with new ones, especially if they're a different size, shape, material, color, etc.

Vintage photographs are viewed quite the same way by a lot of people, so they may rightfully be appalled by or offended by you changing the image by making it look like something else instead of making it look how it used to - which is what restoration means.
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  #24  
Old 11-29-2009, 07:54 PM
MariusX MariusX is offline
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Re: Life was not in black and white

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Originally Posted by aartist View Post
Helen, I'm with you on color. The more the better!
Ansel Adam's work was great, but would have been greater in color.
I actually wrote an opinion paper in a photography class once in support of color.

The old black and whites were mostly out of necessity and/or economy. Art may have entered into it, but not to the degree some would think.
I don't think Ansel would be able to achieve the kind of control over tonality during the printing, using color film. Not to mention smaller dynamic range of color films, so no, i don't think they would look better...unless he had photoshop.


I for one thing like both color and black and white. Some themes work better in BW, (provided that one is skilled in bw conversion) some work better in color, at least as far as my sensibility is concerned.
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  #25  
Old 11-29-2009, 09:14 PM
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csuebele csuebele is offline
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Re: Life was not in black and white

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Originally Posted by ExclamPt View Post
Yes, life was not in black and white.

But it also was not two-dimensional .
Just wanted to say I like ExclamPt's avatar of the interbang - a typography symbol that I which had taken off and used more. I'd use it alot!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MariusX View Post
I don't think Ansel would be able to achieve the kind of control over tonality during the printing, using color film. Not to mention smaller dynamic range of color films, so no, i don't think they would look better...unless he had photoshop.


I for one thing like both color and black and white. Some themes work better in BW, (provided that one is skilled in bw conversion) some work better in color, at least as far as my sensibility is concerned.
At a lecture I attended by Ansel, he referred to color prints like a grand piano, slightly out of tune. Both color & B&W have their place and are good at some things. I like seeing the colorized photos, but most of them remind me of Ansel's statement but worse. Most look pasty flat to me. There are so many delicate shades and tonal variations in a color photograph that you really have to do a super job to make it appealing, otherwise you notice the color first then what the image is.
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  #26  
Old 11-29-2009, 09:18 PM
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Re: Life was not in black and white

Then it's settled. Color is best!
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  #27  
Old 11-29-2009, 11:25 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Life was not in black and white

lol, aartist, i dont think that's quite 'settled'. i'd say it's more like apples and oranges again; some like apples, some like oranges and some like both and some dont like either
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  #28  
Old 11-30-2009, 12:27 AM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: Life was not in black and white

I used to use Black and White to better express a more somber, desolate, lonely mood..Color seems to warm the pictures and make them seem more pleasant and/or happy and sometimes this was not the reaction to a picture that I was looking for. Sometimes the bright colors seem to draw the eye making it difficult to focus on the entire picture. Of course, back in the day, a long time ago, I did all my own B/W processing and sent all my Color out to a Professional Lab which is why most of my personal work was in B/W and paid shoots were in Color
I still think there is a place for Color and a place for Black and White.. Then again I don't think you could go wrong by wearing rose colored glasses and painting the whole world with glorious color.. because it does seem to make things more pleasant. Some of the Colored Tintypes I've seen look marvelous in Color. You are right about all art from ancient man till now being in color.. Black and White hangers on like me and a few others seems to be a Photographic anomaly, heck even TVs went from Black and White to color as soon as they could
.
The two end photos (from sxc.hu or stock.xchng) are desaturated Color photos not Black and White the center is a Black and White photo, (the beautifully colored version was done by aartist (hope you don't mind )). They are just random samples gleaned from the web to show a mood differences between color and black and white..
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  #29  
Old 11-30-2009, 06:17 AM
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Godmother Godmother is offline
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Re: Life was not in black and white

You can't argue personal taste.
But photography is not about reality but that reality seen through someone.
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  #30  
Old 11-30-2009, 07:04 AM
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aartist aartist is offline
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Re: Life was not in black and white

Craig, yes, some like apples and some like oranges.
I don't mind, as long as the apple is red and the orange is, well, orange!

I wanted the last say, but I don't think that is going to happen.
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