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Animated Historical Imagery

A dynamic, modern take on traditional historical imagery restoration. I believe that colorization can help bring us closer to the past and can add a new dimension of clarity and appreciation to historical imagery. Animation when paired with colorization takes this concept to the next level. It can help to fully appreciate the reality of the lives of those in each photo I touch.

Tip: Click or Tap animations to Play/Pause

Original Technique Development:

 

American Civil War Animated Matrices

I used some of Mathew Brady's portraits from the US Civil war, which I found in the US National Archives online library (Link). The National Archives holds thousands of Brady’s glass negative plates, and many of these contain photo matrices: multiple images organized into rows, or columns, or both. Much use has been made of the two-image matrices which are recognizable as "stereoviews." However, the matrices containing three or more images haven’t been very thoroughly exploited yet. In the early age of photography, portraits took several seconds to be fully taken and developed onto glass plates like this one. It was also impossible to know if the image would be visible until you returned to a development lab.

So, often, photographers would take multiple images of the same subject to increase the chance of a good image. Sometimes, between shots they would position the camera at a slightly different angles either purposely or accidentally when adjusting their equipment. They would then develop multiple photos of the same subject in a single negative. When you arrange these differing perspectives into a sequence, they create an almost 3-dimensional effect. I've always believed that colorization can help bring us closer to the past and can add a new dimension of clarity and appreciation to historical imagery. This matrice phenomenon has the same effect for me-so naturally I decided to pair the two to create the ultimate viewing experience.

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General George Custer