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Colorized Civil War images bring bygone era to life

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A Photoshop expert with a lot of patience has colorized a number of famous Civil War images helping to bring out new details in the iconic photographs. It leads to an imagining of how people would feel if the images had been taken with a 21st Century camera.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Just 150 years ago, the United States was split into two warring halves, the Confederate States of America in the south and the United States in the north. The clashes of men and material were some of the largest of the 19th century, and were epic even by more modern standards with hundreds of thousands of men clashing across the states.

Photography was transitioning from rare to ubiquitous as aspiring professionals adopted the trade, but the equipment was still crude and cumbersome by modern standards. Images had to be made almost by hand with long exposures requiring subjects to remain still for several seconds.

Many of the images were captured on fragile glass plates and lost when the plates shattered or were later used as panes for greenhouses, which was the fate of many of the images made during the Civil War.

Still, some iconic images remain captured by legendary photographers such as Matthew Brady and Alexander Gardner.

These photographers took to capturing the images of war including the leaders, the troops, and even the dead.

Their haunting images have been seared into the minds of historians for generations yet the black-and-white, and sepia nature of the images lent a certain sterility to them - a distance that softens the reality within.

The work of John C. Guntzelman changes that. Using Photoshop, Guntzelman painstakingly colorized several images, taking care to replicate colors as best he could. He colorized everything from eyes, to individual blades of grass.

The results are stunning, making the mages appear fresh and new, as though they were taken much more recently. The subjects become more human.

Guntzelman said, "The purpose of this is to show that people of 150 years ago were not very different from us today."

To see the images in color is almost to see them for the first time, all over again.

Guntzelman's book is available via Amazon.com.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)