For my most recent colourising piece I chose this photo by the Danish American photographer and social reformer Jacob Riis. Riis moved to the USA in 1870 and after a very hard start where he was destitut he started work as a carpenter before finally working for a newspaper. At the time photography was very much in its infancy with both lenses and emulsions being very slow and therefore not suitable to photograph in the dark slums. In 1887 however Riis discovered that flash photography had been invented via the use of flash powder.
Riis instantly realised the potential for flash photography and he with friends and colleagues Dr. John Nagle, Henry Piffard and Richard Hoe Lawrence set about photographing the slums and their inhabitants with the first photo being published in 1888.
This photo is from around that time and shows one of four pedlars who lived in the cellar of 11 Ludlow Street, rear, in New York.
You can view the original and my coloured version below.
Following a recent article on my website about colouring black and white photos I thought I'd have another go and found this photo of lunch carts on Broad Street in New York circa 1906. With lots of detail it was certainly going to involve a lot of masking and seeing as I ended up using 127 layers this was the most complex photo I've worked on so far.
As before I found the best result was to first convert the photo to CMYK instead of RGB. This photo was an interesting learning curve for me as I learned a couple of new skills about how to paint different layers of colours on top of each other and blend them together which is sometimes more accurate, natural looking and a faster way of working.
I have a few more photos in mind to work on next, one of which was taking during the Blitz but I think I will need to learn a couple more skills before I can complete these.
You can view a before and after of this photo below.