Charm of Daily Life in Old-Time Maine Revived in Colorized Photos (Photo Gallery)

BY Benjamin Kim TIMEJune 30, 2014 PRINT

Photographs capture memories, but black and white photos sometimes don’t bring the moment back to life for the viewer the way color does. Patty Allison adds living color to scenes of daily life and photos of historical places in Portland, Maine. Though she focuses on Portland, she also colorizes photos of classic scenes in old-time American life from other regions. 

It’s an intricate process and a single photo can take as long as 10 hours to colorize. Each color requires a different lithographic stone. Photography and photo restoration is a hobby for Allison, who works as a self-employed dog groomer. She taught herself digital colorization.

“If it’s a great picture, I love to work on it. And when the color goes on, it’s a whole different ball game, the photo just comes alive,” Allison told the Portland Press Herald last year. 

Allison researches to find just the right color. She’ll try to match the real color of a storefront, for example, so people can recognize it and connect to it. When people see their city as it was in the past, adding this veracity helps draw a true connection between that scene of the past and the present experience. 

In addition to her website, she posts the photos to social media, and the feedback she gets has helped her greatly as a self-taught artist. She told the Herald that some social media users pointed out, for example, that one of her restorations looked too dull for a sunny day. 

“The critics started saying, ‘You need some yellow in those trees,’ and when that was done, it looks great,” she said. “It’s simple but not something you think about if you don’t know, that the sun shining makes things yellow.”

To see more of her work, visit her website,

Benjamin Kim
You May Also Like