40 Amazing Recoloring of Historical Photos

Whenever I look at an old black and white photo, I can’t help but wonder what it was like to live in that era. I would also try to imagine what the photo would have looked like if it had colors; would that give an entirely different mood to the photo?

Thanks to the advancement of photo editing in recent years, we are now able to see what black and white photos would probably look like if they were captured in color, through a technique called photo colorization. It’s particularly interesting when the photo colorization is applied on photos of historical importance.

In this post, we are featuring a compilation of 40 amazing colorized historical photos. Sure, the color selections might not be spot on all the time, but I bet many would agree that these colorized versions do bring a new dimension to the photos.

How to Colorize Old Black & White Photo in Photoshop

How to Colorize Old Black & White Photo in Photoshop

Today we are going to do some photo manipulation with Photoshop. In the tutorial below, we are going... Read more

Dorothy Counts – Breaking Down The Barriers, 1957

Dorothy became the first black student to be accepted into Harding High School. She was spat on, teased, and racially abused on enrollment day.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Dorothy Counts
Big Jay McNeely, Los Angeles 1953

The extraordinary Jazz musician serenading the crowd at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.

(Image Source: traquea)

Big Jay McNeely
The Burning Monk, 1963

Thích Quang Dức protested against the Vietnamese President’s anti-Buddhist laws by setting himself on fire.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Burning Monk
Civil Rights March, Washington 1963

One of the largest political rallies for human rights in the history of the United States, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

(Image Source: Dana Keller)

Civil Rights March
“Old Gold” Country Store, USA 1939

Just another lazy Sunday at a country store in North Carolina. The one standing in the doorway was the store owner’s brother.

(Image Source: Jordan J. Lloyd)

Old Gold Country Store
Vietnam Execution, 1968

This photo taken during the Vietnam War portrays the ruthlessness of the war. Here a Viet Cong prisoner was shot in the head at point-blank range.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Vietnam Execution
VJ Day Celebration, New York City 1945

This photo of a sailor kissing a nurse during the VJ Day (Victory in Japan Day) celebration would later become one of the most famous shots taken during the celebration.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

VJ Day
“The American Dream” Poster, Kentucky 1937

A queue of African Americans waiting to receive bread in front a poster that implied “The American Dream” was open only to well-to-do white Americans.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

The American Dream
Abandoned Boy, London 1945

This boy went off to play and when he came back, he found his house in ruins. His family members were found dead under the rubble, and he was left clinging on to his stuffed toy.

(Image Source: Andreas Larsson)

Abandoned Boy
Albert Einstein, Summer 1939 New York

The legendary physicist spent the summer of 1939 in Long Island where he befriended local store owner David Rothman.

(Image Source: Paul Edwards)

Albert Einstein
Alfred Hitchcock, 1899 – 1980

The one and only Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, the original master of psychological thrillers.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Alfred Hitchcock
Audrey Hepburn, circa 1960s

A nice candid shot of the iconic British actress and humanitarian.

(Image Source: Dana Keller)

Audrey Hepburn
August Strindburg, 1849 – 1912

Swedish legend Johan August Strindberg might be most well-known for being a great playwright and novel writer, but he was also a talented poet, essayist, and painter.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

August Strindburg
The Smoking Kid, USA 1938

A 1938 photo of a young boy smoking a cigarette in Baltimore.

(Image Source: Jordan J. Lloyd)

Smoking kid
Union Captain Cunningham, 1863

One of the photos Jordan J. Lloyd chose to colorize for his American Civil War photo series.

(Image Source: Jordan J. Lloyd)

Captain Cunningham
Charles Darwin,1809 – 1882

Darwin, an English naturalist and geologist best known for his theory on evolution.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Charles Darwin
Charlie Chaplin, 1889 – 1977

Charlie Chaplin, a legend of silent cinema.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Charlie Chaplin
Che Guevara, 1928 – 1967

The one whose vision became a countercultural symbol of rebellion during the Cuban Revolution.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Che Guevara
During the Civil War, USA 1863

Here’s another American Civil War photo brought to life by Jordan J. Lloyd.

(Image Source: Jordan J. Lloyd)

During Civil War
Brigadier General David McMurtrie Gregg and Staff of Nine, USA 1862

A photo of Brigadier General David McMurtrie Gregg and his men.

(Image Source: Jordan J. Lloyd)

Bri. Gen. David
General Joseph Hooker, 1862

This photo of General Joseph Hooker is brought to life with careful colorizing by Mads Madsen.

(Image Source: Mads Madsen)

Joseph Hooker
Japanese Archers, circa 1860

19th century Japanese archers in action.

(Image Source: Jordan J. Lloyd)

Japanese Archers
Young Marilyn Monroe

“Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” – Marilyn Monroe

(Image Source: James Larkin)

Young Marilyn Monroe
Mark Twain, 1835-1910.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Mark Twain
Martin Luther King Jr. , Washington 1963

The moment when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech.

(Image Source: EllisHazzard)

Martin Luther King Jr
Mauretania – Giant Of The Seas, 1907

The year was 1907 and the “floating palace” was about to make its maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Migrant mother during The Great Depression, 1936

A photo of a mother of seven, taken during the Great Depression.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Migrant Mother
Marilyn Monroe During Film Career, circa 1950s

“Beneath the makeup and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world.” – Marilyn Monroe

(Image Source: Luck Gomes)

Marilyn Monroe
Astronaut Neil Armstrong, 1969

Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon.

(Image Source: Matt Drewry)

Neil Armstrong
Newsies at Skeeter’s Branch, 1910

More young boys with cigarettes.

(Image Source: Paul Edwards)

Newsies at Skeeter's Branch
The Bikini Atoll, mid 1946

Bikini Atoll was a dream destination until it became a nuclear testing site in the 1940s.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Bikini Atoll
Oscar II, 1880

The king of Sweden and Norway from late 19th century to early 20th century.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Oscar II
P. Ramlee, 1929 – 73

A Malaysian icon for his contributions to the local film and music industries.

(Image Source: Azli)

William C. Hopson, circa 1926

A photo of William, a US airmail service pilot, dressed in his winter flying suit.

(Image Source: Dana Keller)

William Hopson
Powerhouse Mechanic, 1921

A classic example of labor back in the 1920s.

(Image Source: Malakon)

Powerhouse Mechanic
Theodore Roosevelt, 1900

A photo of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States.

(Image Source: Will Doran)

President Theodore Roosevelt
Broadway at the United States Hotel, New York 1915

What Saratoga Springs looked like nearly 100 years ago.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Saratoga Springs
Unemployed Lumber Worker, circa 1939

A photo an unemployed lumber worker and his wife. The man was later identified as Thomas Cave.

(Image Source: Mads Madsen)

Unemployed lumber worker
W.H. Murphy’s Bulletproof Vest, USA 1923

A photo of Murphy receving a shot in the chest as part of his bulletproof vest demonstration.

(Image Source: Mads Madsen)

Murphy's bulletproof vest
Winston Churchill, 1874 – 1965

A photo of Winston Churchill, a 2-time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1940 – 1945, 1951 – 1955), a Nobel Prize winner (literature), and the first ever Honorary Citizen of the United States.

(Image Source: Sanna Dullaway)

Winston Churchill