30 Fascinating People, Places, And Events Captured In These Rarely Seen Historical Photographs
History is often stereotypically presented as a dull subject (though many of you, alongside myself, may disagree vehemently). But what really brings those obscure dates and names to life are photos showing us what people like you and I might have looked like back then, and that’s exactly what the Historical Pictures and Old Memories group on Facebook does.
There’s so much to wonder about as we scroll through these photos. What were these people like? What were their daily joys and their daily challenges like? What might they think of the joys and challenges we face today? If we lived at the same time as they did, do you think you might have been friends?
One recent digital trend that we are lucky to enjoy for some of the photos on this list is digital colorization and restoration, but more on that in a bit.
One recent trend that has made historical photos more accessible and alive for some is digital recolorization. This is a fascinating field of photography that helps modern viewers truly imagine what things might have looked like decades or even centuries ago.
But digital recolorization is not as simple as it sounds, and it’s far from the first type of recolorization (or colorization, for that matter) that people have ever done.
A Native American, Belonging To The Ojibwe People, Spear Fishing In A Lake Somewhere In Minnesota, United States. Photograph Taken In 1908
Formal Portraits Rarely Featured Smiles, But They Can Be Found In Photographs Of Daily Life During This Period
The earliest type of widespread photo - the daguerreotype - was revolutionary in the world of visual arts. However, people were almost immediately disappointed that the process couldn’t capture color. The science of photography, still in its infancy, could not satisfy the public’s demand for color quickly enough.
A Young Kiowa (Kiawah) Woman In Native Dress
While scientists, chemists and inventors puzzled over how to capture color, artists took matters into their own hands. And why not? If trained artists could create near-picture-perfect copies of still-life scenes, then coloring a black-and-white photograph couldn’t be that hard, right?
We’ll leave that judgment up to the reader, but we do know that attempts were already being made in 1839 - the year that the daguerreotype was invented. Artists’ experiments began by hand and involved powdered pigments, transparent paints, and all sorts of other colors applied directly to the photographs.
Charlie Chaplin Was Ahead Of His Time, 1922. This Is One Of The Earlier Distracted Boyfriend Situations On Film
Whirling Horse, A Sioux Native American Man. Photographed By Gertrude Käsebier, C.1900
As color photography evolved through a number of iterations to the color film and digital sensors of the modern era, the concept of re-coloring black-and-white photos never disappeared. Though this was also often done by hand, the invention of Adobe Photoshop revolutionized the art of digital recolorization.
The current edition of Photoshop even has a tool called a Neural Filter, which can be used on a black and white photo to let Photoshop take its best guess at the required colors and colorize the photo itself. There might be some tasks, however, where this approach might not work.
Damascus Gate, One Of The Main Gates Of The Old City Of Jerusalem. Ottoman Empire, 1890
Bell Labs Experimental Video Phone 1960s
Bruce Lee Teaching His Son, Brandon, Martial Arts At An Early Age. 1960s
Albert Einstein Posing For A Photograph In Zurich, Switzerland At The Age Of 24 In 1903
One fascinating aspect of some recolorization projects was the historical research involved in getting the colors right. A sufficiently scholarly approach could have photographers and artists recreating historic fabrics or processes to ensure that they could accurately reproduce the shine of a princess’ exotic silk or the vibrant colors of a coat of arms.
A Family Plays On A Unique Four Person Homemade Swing In Finland, 1954
A Baby Learning How To Walk In A Wicker Frame As Mom Does Laundry. 1910s
Star Wars Cast Out Of Costumes: Harrison Ford (Han Solo), David Prowse (Darth Vader), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) And Kenny Baker (R2-D2). 1977
Ernest Hemingway On The Steps Of His Cuban Estate Finca Vigia, Nuzzling One Of His Beloved Polydactyl Cats; San Francisco De Paula, Circa 1954
Scientists Studying Moon Phases On Models In Preparation For Us Manned Flight To Moon, 1962
The thought of achieving color photos by chemical means may seem archaic to younger users of modern DSLR cameras and smartphones, but the last great analog color photography processes (including Kodachrome and Agfacolor-Neu) involved complex chemical processes and special development processes in laboratory conditions.
Photography enthusiasts may regret the loss of these and other fascinating photographic processes, but look on the bright side - our grandchildren will get to see color photos and videos of us!
A Young Family In Martin Place, Sydney - Australia, (1950s)
1948 - Scottish Ballerina Moira Shearer Plays Dancer Victoria Page In The Classic Film 'The Red Shoes'
In The Victorian Era, The Woman’s Hair Was Considered An Important Part Of Her Appearance And It Marked Her Status And Her Femininity
Women in that era were often expected to grow their hair to great lengths, and it was common knowledge that a woman’s crowning glory was her hair.
Participants In The Miss Beautiful Eyes Beauty Pageant, Paris, 1930
The Historical Pictures and Old Memories group on Facebook has nearly 20,000 members as of this writing and posts photos almost every day, so if you enjoyed this journey through the past, be sure to give them a follow!
A 1936 Drought Refugee From Polk, Missouri, Awaiting The Opening Of Orange Picking Season In Porterville, California
A Man Selling Brooms And Baskets. Japan, 1890-1896
A Group Of Breaker Boys At The Woodward Coal Mines In Kingston, Pennsylvania, Pose For A Photograph. Photograph Taken In C. 1900
Algeria Algeria 🇩🇿 1940_1960 Muslim Couple And European Couple Two Stories Civilization Religion But One Country
Note: this post originally had 95 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.