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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 03 Dec 2014 (Wednesday) 12:59
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Amazing American Civil War Photos Turned Into Glorious Color

 
airfrogusmc
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Dec 09, 2014 17:16 |  #31

flashpoint99 wrote in post #17323318 (external link)
Typical response from a pompous individual who believes their opinion is more important than all others. You stand in defense of the black and white images as art but denounce the colorized version as sin because you don't like it! An opinion you hold true until you are challenged on it. Then you run and hide from the debate not once but twice! Hope your Webster's dictionary is large so you can continue to hide behind it!

Wow check out the personal attack NICE. The sure cure for ignorance is knowledge. Thats not pompous or anything else but a fact.

To be able to make successful photographs in B&W you need to see differently than to be able to make successful photographs in color. The visual elements that make a good B&W photograph are usually much different form the ones that make a good color photograph. Thats not just my opinion but you would have to read the words of Adams, Michael Johnson, Edward Weston, Cartier Bresson and history to understand that. Adams made color work but because his vision and the way he saw an image in his minds eye was in B&W and therefor his serious work and best work is B&W.

And you need to refine your reading ability. I never said it was a sin I jsut don't see the reason behind it. I have the same opinion of colorized movies as does great directors like Scoreses and Coppola. Those photos were not created in color so why colorize? Whats the point? They are great in B&W. THat is the way the photogrpahers say the images in as Adams says their minds eye at the moment of exposure.




  
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WhyFi
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Dec 09, 2014 17:16 |  #32

BigAl007 wrote in post #17323362 (external link)
Also as any reasonably good shooter of B&W film will know, the spectral response of many items is such that looking at the image it is often possible to make an educated guess of the colour of the item from the relative tones present. Of course this takes experience and practice, but it was the cutting edge technology of the time.


Yes, but there's still a lot of margin of error even within those educated guesses. It's not unusual for restorers of historic spaces to look at B&W photos and then paint swaths of the said space with various "educated guess" colors so that they can then re-photograph the swaths in B&W and compare the results to the original B&Ws... and then adjust and try again. In general, I agree that we're not talking about a whole lot of unknowns when it comes to these photos, but also agree with the CDS's point that there's still the question of the execution.


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WaltA
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Dec 09, 2014 18:24 |  #33

WhyFi wrote in post #17323405 (external link)
Yes, but there's still a lot of margin of error even within those educated guesses. It's not unusual for restorers of historic spaces to look at B&W photos and then paint swaths of the said space with various "educated guess" colors so that they can then re-photograph the swaths in B&W and compare the results to the original B&Ws... and then adjust and try again. In general, I agree that we're not talking about a whole lot of unknowns when it comes to these photos, but also agree with the CDS's point that there's still the question of the execution.

I think there's a fairly large margin of error. Maybe not with these particular photos (you guys know the dress code for this war better than we Canucks do) but I know that our Canadian fighting men (back in the 1700s-1800s) didn't always have similar colors. The uniform for the militia, for example, were very different that regular troops.

And even within regular troops, uniform colors might be different for different regiments. And for the Scottish regiments, I don't think you could figure out the color of a kilt from a B/W picture.

And then there was the French!

I have no quarrel with the creativity it takes to colorize - just don't see the point unless your doing it right.


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Dec 09, 2014 23:15 |  #34

WaltA wrote in post #17323507 (external link)
I think there's a fairly large margin of error. Maybe not with these particular photos (you guys know the dress code for this war better than we Canucks do) but I know that our Canadian fighting men (back in the 1700s-1800s) didn't always have similar colors. The uniform for the militia, for example, were very different that regular troops.

And even within regular troops, uniform colors might be different for different regiments. And for the Scottish regiments, I don't think you could figure out the color of a kilt from a B/W picture.


I have no quarrel with the creativity it takes to colorize - just don't see the point unless your doing it right.

FWIW, these guys are historians. (to address just this issue)They're high goal is to be authentic. I think you can pretty much rely that they looked like the men at the time did.

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Dec 09, 2014 23:28 |  #35

bpiper7 wrote in post #17323944 (external link)
FWIW, these guys are historians. (to address just this issue)They're high goal is to be authentic. I think you can pretty much rely that they looked like the men at the time did.

Subtract an average of 25 pounds from each one and you've got it.

Complexions would have varied by time of year.


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Dec 10, 2014 02:54 |  #36

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17323404 (external link)
......Those photos were not created in color so why colorize? Whats the point? They are great in B&W......


To give them exposure to a wide range of viewers that they otherwise would not have had?
A technical or artistic exercise by the colourist?
It's the colourist's hobby and (s)he enjoys doing it?

I'm not against critique of the colourization, FYI I think it's poorly done myself in these examples. I can't work out why you and a couple of other posters seem to be so against it, you're entitled to, and I respect your opinion. Asking "What's the Point?" is they type of question a non-creative would ask of a creative and seems completely out of character for you?

Also I'm not sure colourization of old movies is the same thing, I'm shuddering at the thought of what they did to Night of the Living Dead. This seems more like an attempt to humanize these old photos to attract a new audience not a money grab like many Hollywood colourizations.


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airfrogusmc
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Post edited over 4 years ago by airfrogusmc. (4 edits in all)
     
Dec 10, 2014 08:08 as a reply to  @ post 17323362 |  #37

For stayfrosty

Ok then lets paint the Statue of Liberty or make Franz Klines paintings color. While we are at it lets colorize Ansel Adams photographs. But why? They are great as is as where these civil war photographs. Anyone can do whatever they want but that doesn't mean they should. Should they remake or worse colorize Citizen Kane or Casablanca?

Does anyone understand why Adams and many of the great B&W landscape photographers did their serious work in B&W when color was available and widely used. In fact many great landscape photographers today are still shooting large format zone system B&W and there are many reasons why.




  
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airfrogusmc
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Dec 10, 2014 08:53 |  #38

OhLook wrote in post #17323964 (external link)
Subtract an average of 25 pounds from each one and you've got it.

Complexions would have varied by time of year.

25 lbs? LoL. Maybe a few more lbs I would say.




  
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flashpoint99
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Dec 10, 2014 09:30 |  #39

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17324352 (external link)
For stayfrosty

Ok then lets paint the Statue of Liberty or make Franz Klines paintings color. While we are at it lets colorize Ansel Adams photographs. But why? They are great as is as where these civil war photographs. Anyone can do whatever they want but that doesn't mean they should. Should they remake or worse colorize Citizen Kane or Casablanca?

Does anyone understand why Adams and many of the great B&W landscape photographers did their serious work in B&W when color was available and widely used. In fact many great landscape photographers today are still shooting large format zone system B&W and there are many reasons why.

Ansel Adams began to photograph in color soon after Kodachrome was invented in the mid-1930s.




  
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Dec 10, 2014 09:43 |  #40

From the forum rules;

"Though we encourage members to engage in healthy debate, we do not condone personal attacks on members. Ideas can be disputed or challenged, but attacks on a personal level are unacceptable and when they are discovered or brought to the attention of the staff, will be dealt with accordingly. Ideas can be attacked, but individuals cannot."

Read more at: https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=50442

This line has been crossed in this thread. If it continues, it "will be dealt with accordingly"


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Dec 10, 2014 09:53 |  #41

OhLook wrote in post #17323964 (external link)
Subtract an average of 25 pounds from each one and you've got it.

Complexions would have varied by time of year.

Ha! Yes. I've always been slightly amused by the "robustness" of some of these re-enactors.

But you can trust the clothes.


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airfrogusmc
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Dec 10, 2014 10:13 |  #42

flashpoint99 wrote in post #17324447 (external link)
Ansel Adams began to photograph in color soon after Kodachrome was invented in the mid-1930s.

flashpoint99 wrote in post #17324447 (external link)
Ansel Adams began to photograph in color soon after Kodachrome was invented in the mid-1930s.

Yes but none of that color work he or anyone else was considered to be his serious work. The reason he and many other zone system photographers used the zone system and B&W large format film was one word CONTROL. Adams said the zone system was a precise way of getting what he saw in his minds eye (which in his words was not the way the scene actually looked but the way the saw it). Through the zone system and an intense series of test one could manipulate film development through temp time and dilution to get the desired DR and to place B&W tones in preconceived zones via those methods. With color when you start shifting temps development times and dilutions you can start to get uncorrectable color shifts. Many zone system photographers actually refer to color film as a barbaric process because they can only capture what is there not what is in their imagination because of the lack of control.

A couple of thing that you might want to read on the subject.
Ansel Adams Autobiography
Ansel Adams trilogy of
The Camera
The Negative
The Print

So color is not just by its nature a better medium. It is very different from B&W and takes very different visual skills to do well (seeing).




  
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Dec 10, 2014 10:24 as a reply to  @ post 17323182 |  #43

I have to admit I was ready to hate the colorized images even before I saw them. I hated seeing Ted Turner's colorized versions of classic movies.

But now that I have seen them I like them.

They are not perfect, some are better than others, 6 is not great.

To my eye the colorization in 2 and 3 adds to the images.


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Dec 10, 2014 10:36 as a reply to  @ airfrogusmc's post |  #44

I see where you are coming from now, you don't want to see great B&W art defiled.
IMO these photos are documentary, they are not "old masters" of photography, they are just old.
I think I'd agree with you if they were classics.

Playing devil's advocate: what about Warhol? I believe his Marylins were based on screen prints of B&W photos, like it or not being a magpie and collating lots of sources and ideas is part of art. There was also that Gus van Saint shot for shot remake of Pyscho which seems pretty pointless.

P.S. I hope I'm not the one CyberDyneSystems is referring to? Would I get a notification or something? I'm quite enjoying this debate, it's really interesting but will bail out if I'm crossing a line.


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airfrogusmc
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Post edited over 4 years ago by airfrogusmc. (2 edits in all)
     
Dec 10, 2014 10:47 |  #45

StayFrosty wrote in post #17324578 (external link)
I see where you are coming from now, you don't want to see great B&W art defiled.
IMO these photos are documentary, they are not "old masters" of photography, they are just old.
I think I'd agree with you if they were classics.

Playing devil's advocate: what about Warhol? I believe his Marylins were based on screen prints of B&W photos, like it or not being a magpie and collating lots of sources and ideas is part of art. There was also that Gus van Saint shot for shot remake of Pyscho which seems pretty pointless.

P.S. I hope I'm not the one CyberDyneSystems is referring to? Would I get a notification or something? I'm quite enjoying this debate, it's really interesting but will bail out if I'm crossing a line.

No I don't think it is you. You have been quite reasonable with your responses as far as I can see. It's usually the person not doing well in a debate that resorts to personal attacks. I will be willing to bet the words he is referring to have been removed.

Something that is good created by someone what gives anyone the right to change it? I would not be happy if someone colorized my B&W work. It is not the way it was seen and not the way it should be viewed so the question I ask is why do it? If you want to create then create something that really is yours.

Warhol is a completely different conversation. (I do like his work BTW).

The mentality that somehow color will make something better, especially something that was already created and meant to be in B&W, is my objection.

If you want to do it rock on but my question remains why? Especially if it's been done already and done well.

I know why Turner did it with movies. Only one reason, to make money on the multitudes that somehow think color is better. It's not. It's just different.




  
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