Jordan Lloyd’s meticulous colorization of black-and-white photos brings the viewer right into the American Civil War, Times Square in olden days, or the March on Washington in 1963. It’s American history in living color.
(Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd/Dynamic Chrome; Original photograph by Dorothea Lange)
Lloyd starts by restoring the black and white photo to its original quality. Many layers of color are added to create the realistic hues. It takes about 12–20 layers of color for faces, for example. For some background landscapes, it takes about 10. Altogether, a single photo could be comprised of hundreds of individual color layers.
Colorizing historic photos isn’t just a creative process of adding whatever colors suit the artist’s eye. It takes painstaking research. Lloyd and other specialists at Dynamichrome correspond with experts, such as garment historians, to recreate the scenes with a high degree of authenticity. To color signs and other objects from the time, they check auction listings and other places to find original articles for reference.
Louis Armstrong plays the trumpet near the sphinx in Egypt. (Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd/Dynamic Chrome)
The Dynamichrome website explains that skillfully colorized photos “allow the viewer to connect with a past era and see details they never noticed before, bringing history to life and drawing attention to images previously unseen in full color.”
March on Washington, 1963. (Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd/Dynamic Chrome)
National Rice Festival, 1938 (Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd/Dynamic Chrome; Original photograph by Russell Lee/LOC)
Celebrated singer Marian Anderson, 1939 (Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd/Dynamic Chrome; Original photograph by Archives Center/NMAH, SI)
A sheep ranch, 1936 (Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd/Dynamic Chrome; Original photograph by Arthur Rothstein for the Resettlement Administration)
“General David McMurtrie Gregg and Staff of Nine” (Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd/Dynamic Chrome; original Photograph from the U.S National Archives)
(Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd/Dynamic Chrome)