By Ben Wheeler

Media Drum World is proud to present the first book, Retrographic produced by the agency’s founder and director Michael D. Carroll.

From the dawn of the photographic period of the early 1800’s to the political turmoil of the 1970’s, through the careful selection of striking images and dedicated colourization research, Retrographic takes the reader on a visual tour of the distant past.

Non-violent protest is taken to its most extreme level by this monk who burned himself to death. “Vietnam Monk Protest” Thic Quang Duc. Photographed by Malcolm Browne in Saigon, Vietnam on June 11th 1963, image courtesy of Associated Press. Colourised by Matt Loughrey.


Eclectic but informative highlights include the iconic kiss at Times Square between a sailor and nurse celebrating the end of WW2, legendary boxing champion Mohammed Ali meeting Britain’s most famous pop-group The Beatles, a glimpse behind the chaos of The Somme during WW1, the Nazis plotting war with America, and the rise of global popular culture.

Many of these moments are already burned into our collective memory through the power of photography as shared by people across the 190-year long Age of the Image. And now, these visual time capsules are collected together for the first time and presented in living colour.

“This respentant image from Japan of one of the most famous traditional hostesses of this nation, geisha Geiko Tomeko, shows the transformative impact colour provides to the original black and white.” Photograph courtesy of an anonymous private collector, c.1930’s. Colourised by Frederic Duriez.


Michael Carroll explains why hours of research to go into preparing an image to be colourised and the different approaches various colourisers take.

“Retrographic is the ultimate celebration of human civilization’s most impactful medium,” he said.

THE FAB-PAW: Two very different worlds collide – just as they are about to become global mega-stars
“The day Ali met the Beatles” from left to right Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Cassius Clay
Photographed on February 18th 1964 at Miami Beach, Florida, USA, courtesy of Associated Press
Colourised by Matt Loughrey


“We can justify the colourisation by recognising that we share the photographic moment more authentically with the photographer, and the subject, when we view it in colour.

“To contemporary eyes, the original versions of historical images, no matter how iconic, can be more distant, and therefore less accessible.”

America’s most iconic image of victory is immediately plagued with controversy. “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.” Photographed on February 19th 1945 by Joe Rosenthal courtesy of Associated Press. Colourised by Matt Loughrey.


With a forward by Royal Photographic Society Ambassador Jeff Vickers, MBE, Hons RPS, Fenton Medal, Retrographic is littered with informative gems and a powerful narrative that bounces themes of conflict, exploration, progress, regression, culture and hope across the Age of the Image.

120 images including the following topics:
19th Century: the Victorians, exploration, colonialism, indigenous people, science, warfare 20th century: lifestyle, WW1, Great Depression, WW2, Hollywood, US, Russian, German, French and British history, the Cold War, 50’s and 60’s icons and the social revolution.

Defiant in defeat: One of the last free Cheyenne leaders sits for a photograph before being forcibly exiled from his homeland. “Half length Cheyenne portrait (Not identified).” Photographed around 1877 courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution via National Archives Catalogue. Colourised by Matthew Loughrey.


“Many people express a preference towards black and white for aesthetic reasons, and indeed people, objects, and scenes look excellent when viewed through black and white photography,” said Mr Carroll.

“However, as one of our contributors, Matt Loughrey argues, authentic colour imagery brings us closer to the, “truth”, as far as any historical record can be said to recreate the past.

How the mighty fall: Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States. “A devastating speech by the Fuhrer against Roosevelt. On Thursday afternoon, the Fuhrer, before the men of the German Reichstag, announced (to a) great and feverish excitement, the war in the Pacific, which had been unleashed by the war-rhetorician Roosevelt.” Photographed by unknown at the Kroll Opera House, Berlin, on December 11th 1941, image courtesy of Maritime Magason Historie / Das Bundesarchiv. Colourised by Mads Madsen.


“Aesthetics is not entirely irrelevant to history, but it is certainly subservient to accuracy, in terms of what the witnesses to history would have seen when the image was taken.”

The book is currently available to buy on Amazon for £13.31.

How women empowered themselves during WW2 by risking their lives for their country. “From left to right female pilots Frances Green Kari, Margaret (Peg) Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn Bross walk away from their B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber.” Pictured at the Four Engine Training School at Lockbourne Army Air Force base, Ohio, USA c.1944 by an unknown US Army photographer. Colourised by Patty Allison.


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