By Mark McConville
INCREDIBLE images of early twentieth century immigrants in traditional dress have been brought back to life after being colourised.
The stunning pictures show the huge diversity among the people passing through Ellis Island as they sought refuge in the United States of America.
The intimate shots include a Hindu boy, Danish man and two children from Lapland – all wearing traditional dress from their country.
Other immigrants to pass through Ellis Island included a Greek orthodox priest and a Romanian piper in a sheepskin cloak.
The pictures were taken by Augustus Sherman, an amateur photographer who worked as the chief registry clerk on Ellis Island from 1892 until 1925, and expertly colourised by Tom Marshall of PhotograFix.
“This project was very different for me, and was an eye opener as someone who tends to colourise figures in western dress,” said Tom.
“I’m used to figures from 1910 wearing various shades of grey, green and brown, with the occasional muted blue or red to add a little flavour.
“The bright colours of the various forms of national dress proved an interesting challenge.”
Ellis island was the gateway to the USA, with over 12 million immigrants passing through to start a new life in America between 1892 and 1954.
Tom couldn’t help but find parallels between the immigration in these photos and the big debate that surrounds immigration today, both in the UK and USA.
“It has also been interesting to look at the history of the USA, and the impact of immigration from all these different countries.
“As much as I would like to, I try not to get into politics, but with a high profile election taking place in the USA, and our own recent EU referendum in the UK, it’s hard not to draw parallels between these photos and the current climate.
“For me, these photos hint at America’s history as a melting pot of all creeds, colours and nationalities, and I’d like to think it’s a pretty strong argument that those set against immigration, both in the USA and the UK, need to remember that, if you go back far enough everybody’s ancestors were immigrants somewhere.
“These photos were taken over one hundred years ago now, and what a colourful place the world was, and still is.”
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