By Alyce Collins
FROM RAF Lancaster bombers to Luftwaffe Messerschmitts the deadly warbirds of WW2 have been colourised in all their glory to commemorate the anniversary of Battle of Britain Day.
Fascinating colourised images show extremely rare photographs of the air crews across the world, who did their duties for their country’s own air force, during the Second World War.
The images, which have been gloriously restored in vibrant colour, show American officers in the Air Force and the U.S. Navy, as well as British crewmen returning from a mission, and members of the Finnish Air Force as they wait to depart British soil.
The photographs have been colourised by graphic designer Nathan Howland (52) from Brighton, England. Nathan has always had a fascination with graphic design, particularly with enhancing photographs and preserving memories for future generations.
“Many of the images are extremely rare and have yet to be shown to a wider audience,” said Nathan.
“To me, most of them encapsulate the dichotomy in the expression that there is beauty in war. It gives us an emotive and moving insight into the fearful altitudes these very young men faced and braved.
“In the midst of it all, there were these extraordinary battle photographers, armed only with a camera who stole themselves from everything around them to bring their eye, the war and the beauty of nature together in profound moments.
“It saw my role to lend my skill-set to honouring these moments as best I could, to hopefully provoke a more immediate sense of what it was like to be an airman in wartime.”
Nathan explained how important precision is when colourising such delicate images.
“You have to be extremely precise. This requires a great deal of research, and often the research of just a small part of an image can stretch into days until you find what you are looking for,” said Nathan.
“Everyone loves a colour image, they bring life, depth, vibrancy, energy and a richness that is lacking in a monochrome image.
“Colourising allows us to see images in a completely new perspective. In many cases it allows the viewer to see much more detail within an image than your eyes would otherwise perceive when looking at something in greyscale. I think it’s a little bit of magic.
“My only wish is for people to enjoy the work, and if you look at a colourised image and can’t tell that it was ever black and white, then that is the biggest flattery any colourist can ask for.”
You can find out more about Nathan’s colourised collections at https://www.facebook.com/HowdiColour/