Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

The color of memory

I don’t know what it is about color photos that makes the past seem more legitimate thank black-and-whites, but there’s definitely a difference. A couple of years ago I wrote about this site, where you can view colorized pictures from long ago, and I was blown away by how contemporary those pictures make the past look.

Not long ago I landed on a website where you can colorize your own black-and-white photos. So I did some.

This shot of my mom holding me as an incredibly fat baby has always been one of my favorites. It was at the top of my batch to colorize. Then I sent the color version to Mom, and she said, “That’s lovely, but I remember that dress and that dress was blue.”

Here are a couple other pairs: First, Mom and her boys. That’s me on the left, Steve in the middle, and Joe, who’s no longer with us, next to Mom. I’m not sure what he’s holding. Some kind of ray gun maybe. He always had a ray gun handy, and if he didn’t have one he’d turn his elbow into a ray gun.

Then there’s me and Steve at Christmastime. That’s our sister Judy’s play pen to the left, and to the right our Lionel “war train,” which had a submarine car, a rocket launching car, and a satellite car. We broke so many ornaments shooting projectiles up into the tree. Dig that mid-century coffee table too!

Since it’s the holidays, it feels like a good time to root through the old photo box and find some gems to colorize. Unless you’re a lot younger than me and all your pics are already in full living color.


6 comments on “The color of memory

  1. pinklightsabre
    November 16, 2020

    It sure is an interesting play on the mind, especially if you grow up with a conception of B&W: really flips the paradigm to colorize it. Cool stuff. Damn that ray gun too.

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 16, 2020

      It’s true. If you’re of a certain age, your childhood is rendered in black and white, up to a point. Or the color photos have faded. Yet you were there and you KNOW it was in color!

      My brain can rest, now that I can just colorize the old pics. 😉

  2. Phillip McCollum
    November 16, 2020

    Amazing! Technology… Does have it’s uses. 😉

  3. Marie A Bailey
    November 22, 2020

    I have old photos that were colorized back in the day, photos of my sisters who were born in ’46 and ’44. They almost look painted rather than photographed. I should try this out. I have a few B&W photos of when I was little. It’d be interesting to see how they would look with color. Would they spark more memories?

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 25, 2020

      It’s fascinating how color does that. I did try some pics that didn’t work though, because they were too faded-gray. Those moment will have to stay B&W in my mind.

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This entry was posted on November 16, 2020 by in Et alia and tagged , , .
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