This is the coloration of Dorothea Lange’s iconic ‘Migrant Mother’ photo. The stark reality of Dorothea’s original photograph is actuated by the addition of color, which I think brings out detail not apparent in the black & white original.
Quem entende de “colourisation” é a Marina Amaral
Color has the power to bring life back to the most important moments
I have long considered colourisation sacrilege… after reading this book, I’ve changed my mind.’
Gerard DeGroot, The Times
Continue a ver e ler, vale a pena! Eu garanto!
After looking into this new modern colourization trend, I don’t feel that I am any closer to landing on one side or the other. I would say that like most things in the archival world – it depends! If properly researched and sourced, a colourized photograph can help to make a historic event more relevant to the present and therefore help a viewer to make a more emotional connection with the material. But there are issues of authenticity, context, and the photographer’s original intentions. Something tells me that Yousef Karsh did not envision a colour version of his iconic Churchill portrait.
Crucial to the controversy is the issue of historical accuracy. For colourists like Amaral there are difficulties to be overcome. Particularly time-consuming was her work on the photograph of nine European kings – in Windsor for the burial of Edward VII in 1910 – who gathered in one room for a group shot. Her challenge was the number of medals and uniforms in the picture. “I had to identify them correctly to be able to use accurate colours.”
…Sprucing up black-and-white photographs is all the rage, but there are questions to ask
Two versions of Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother by two different colourists appear in Retrographic and The Colour of Time. For Carroll, a famous photograph like this is bound up with the history of the mid-20th century. It is, he says, our knowledge of the adverse conditions of the woman in the picture that lends power to the image and he believes that colourisation, accurately performed, can only add to this history: “It is the history that makes the shot what it is, and allows us to emotionally connect with the subject.”
Conversely, a sublime timelessness can be attributed to Migrant Mother, situating it within a tradition of Madonna and Child images that transcends its documentary identity. If its socioeconomic setting was unknown and the title removed, the photograph could be seen in other ways without diminishing its aesthetic and powerful form.
Berenice Abbott took some colour images in the 1950s but deprecated their value, saying colour “crowds the picture and affects the composition”. This was her aesthetic choice and any colourising of her earlier work surely risks blurring a critical response to her achievement. For some, colourising Lange’s work is a monetising of art, on a level with the fridge magnets, mugs and the tea towels manufactured for major exhibitions around the world.
Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother is certainly one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century. And just as the photo is striking, so is the story behind it. In this video from Nerdwriter, you can hear more about how Lange took this photo and how it became one of the symbols of the Great Depression.
“Migrant Mother” by photographer Dorothea Lange is an iconic image of the Great Depression and one of the most famous photos in US history. But did you know that the photo was “Photoshopped”?
Siga o enlace para o NYT na matéria!
PS: A PicturaPixel contou essa história em 2008, para ficar registrado.
PS1: A colorização de fotos em preto&branco é complicada. Como escreveu Emily Lonie na matéria enlaçada aí na nota: “It depends”. Colorizar registros históricos é muito interessante, traz outros aspectos que não se podem observar na imagem original. Porém fotografias autorais não deveriam ser tocadas. A não ser pelo próprio autor, no caso autora, como fez Dorothea.
O que autor ou autora pensou e propôs é sagrado. Assim pensamos!