A Group of Historians Is Arguing to End the Coloring and Modernization of Old Historic Photos

As per Wired, a number of historians are making calls to stop the colorization and modernization of images from decades past. Updating photos to resemble modern eras “obscures” history, they argue.

An increasingly popular service over recent years, advances in technology have allowed for the colorizing of old photos and video footage, giving a fresh insight into scenes from history. However, not everyone is a fan of the process, with some historians publicly declaring they feel the negatives outweigh the positives.

Wired is reporting that Luke McKernan, the lead curator of news and moving images at the British Library, said:

It is a nonsense. Colorization does not bring us closer to the past; it increases the gap between now and then. It does not enable immediacy; it creates difference.

The historians argue that implementing extra frames or color takes away from what the original footage is and should remain.

Associate Professor at University College Dublin’s School of Art History and Cultural Policy Emily Mark-Fitzgerald said:

The problem with colorization is it leads people to just think about photographs as a kind of uncomplicated window onto the past, and that’s not what photographs are.

YouTubers who specialize in upscaling old footage have defended their work, claiming it makes important historical footage easier for new generations to digest. There’s also an argument for the restoring of footage attracting the attention of people who wouldn’t otherwise have been interested.

The debate continues!


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