Let There Be Color

Recently someone on Facebook posted a link to a series of historic black & white photographs which had been realistically colored using computer software.  You can visit the article here:


I was surprised by my reaction to the photographs.  They seemed to come alive for me emotionally in a way that I didn’t expect.  As moving and artistic and full of “vintage charm” as black and white or sepia-toned photographs can be – and believe me, I love old photographs – seeing the past colorized in this realistic way made the captured events seem visceral… tangible… in a way they had never seemed to me.

I looked around on the web to find someone who did this kind of work.  What I really wanted was to see some of my favorite family photographs redone in this way.  To bring them from the distant past to the present, emotionally.  I found a web site called scancafe.com which did a great job scanning some old family slides for me.  I sent them a few photos to colorize, and I think they did an amazing job.

The first photo I had done was a photo of my great-great-grandparents, Heinrich and Bertha Krueger.  When I opened the file I was just as thrilled as I had hoped:

Heinrich & Bertha Krueger, c1895

Heinrich & Bertha Krueger, c1895

I made Bertha’s eyes green, because green eyes are a Krueger trait that many members of the family carried or carry, including my mother.  The first thing I did when I got the file was to blow it up until my grandparents faces were life-sized.  It felt like looking into the eyes of someone I knew.

The next photo I had done was a photo of Bertha when she was a younger woman.  This photo was probably taken about 1885, shortly after she came to America from Roggow, Pomerania, Prussia.  As much as I love this photo, she seems even more lovely with her green eyes and beautiful grey dress.

Bertha Kamrath Krueger, c1885

Bertha Kamrath Krueger, c1885

This next photo is another of my favorites.  It’s the photo of the Schmidt family taken in 1893 when they were reunited after the five sisters and their mother, Wilhelmine Winkelmann Schmidt, made the trip to America from their home town of Gornitz, Posen, Prussia.  The textures of the clothing are really remarkable.  I love how “real” the fabrics seem.

Schmidt Family, 1893

Schmidt Family, 1893

My great-great-grandfather Wilhelm Schmidt, c1908:

Wilhelm Schmidt c1908

Wilhelm Schmidt c1908



About cthomas1967

Seeking to bring my ancestors out of the shadows of history and into the light. I have always been interested in history, and at a few different times I tried to do a family tree, but wasn't able to do it with the technology that was available then. On a business trip I visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO and it was a very impressive establishment. While I was there I remember thinking, "Didn't my great-grandfather father fight in World War I? And wasn't his brother killed alongside him in some famous battle? I wonder if I can find out where he died." That's what started it all. View all posts by cthomas1967

One response to “Let There Be Color

  • RL

    Just beautiful Charles. It is amazing to see them in color and for the company to have a very good idea of the color of the fabrics from the time that they were taken in. Keep up the amazing work you are doing with all of this genealogy work. – Becky Duffy

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