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Vintage Hand Colored Photographs

November 27, 2011 by 16stone

Every now and then, I find a rare tinted black and white photo. I’ve been intrigued as to why sometimes only part of  it had color, while the rest remained black and white. Turns out there is a history behind it called “hand-coloring.”

Buy the original photo: My Vintage Photos

Via wikipedia:

Hand-colouring (or hand-coloring) refers to any method of manually adding colour to a black-and-white photograph, generally either to heighten the realism of the photograph or for artistic purposes. Hand-colouring is also known as hand painting or overpainting.

Typically, watercoloursoilscrayons or pastels, and other paints or dyes are applied to the image surface using brushes, fingers, cotton swabs or airbrushes. Hand-coloured photographs were most popular in the mid- to late-19th century before the invention of colour photographyand some firms specialized in producing hand-coloured photographs.

Buy vintage hand colored photos:

Check out these other hand colored photographs. Enjoy!


  1. Morrighu says:

    There is also a method of printing the black & white negative onto photo paper capable of developing color. Then exposing specific parts of the as yet undeveloped image to color using a gel cut out. So the girl with the pink shirt, I’d cut out an area in some opaque material to match her shirt and and cover it with inverse (negative) gel of a green shade and then expose that part of the image. The image would develop with pink there when it is finally developed as part of the old photo printing process. It’s a tricky process and it’s very time consuming but the effects are often quite lovely. And incidentally, a favorite subject for this medium was often reprinting older photographs.

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