I chose the COLORIZE IT assignment from the DS106 database. The task asked me to “Recolor a black and white photo using Gimp or another photo editing software to show how you imagine the photo looked during the time it was taken or how you think it should look in color.”
It was important for me to choose an image that I was allowed to modify according to its licensing. I decided to use my iPad and the Tayasui Sketches app that has a watercolour feature I thought would work well for this task.
It was a bit of a struggle finding a creative commons licensed black and white image and at first I chose the image shown below and started to color it. I soon found myself quite bored and rushing the process. Thinking back on it I think it was because I had no connection to the image. These were European children wearing clothes I have not seen in real life and so it was not easy for me to imagine what the colors would look like, I even struggled to choose a color for the wall because I had little reference to what I was imaging a color for. So I decided to quickly finish this image and start looking for a new one to work on.
After looking for a long time I found the image shown below that was taken in Egypt. While I am in no way living a similar lifestyle to the carpenters shown in the image, I was familiar with their clothes, I had a reference for the color of the wall, I had seen similar scenes before and so I did not struggle to imagine what colors objects should be in real life. The one struggle I had (as I had expected) was working on the skin color and it is the one thing I would work more on if I were to do this again and give more variation from man to man because I feel like the original image showed a variety in their skin tones that I just could not replicate.
I feel like this is a tool that can be very powerful. It can be used as a way to remind people of their heritage and bring back the past in a way. I feel like this can turn into a full project that if given time and historical research can produce a body of work that celebrates culture in a simple and accessible way that can reach many people. Moreover, it was interesting that I felt more comfortable recoloring an image I was slightly more familiar with, it just highlights that we should not shy away form culture when being creative.