THE BRUTAL reality of World War Two has been brought to life in a series of stunning yet emotional colourised images from one of the world’s most devastating conflicts.
Striking shots show Sgt Jake McNiece of the 101st Airborne Division, ready to drop into Normandy, a Marine comforting a brother who broke down after witnessing the death of a friend and American troops walk down a war ravaged street, Messina, Sicily.
Other vivid colour pictures show U.S Army military policemen toasting bread over molten lava from Mt Vesuvius after its eruption, Guardsmen of 3rd Irish Guards in a Lloyd carrier, wrapped up against the clouds of dust, during Operation ‘Goodwood’, and the crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress “Memphis Belle” is shown at an air base in England after completing 25 missions over enemy territory.
The original black and white photographs were painstakingly colourised by design engineer Paul Reynolds (48), from Birmingham, UK.
“I mostly colourise war photos because each photo usually has a story to tell, stories of real everyday people,” he said.
“I think colourising detailed photos really brings them to life. You notice detail that usually gets missed due to the monotone background.
“The content of the photo conveys its own message; however I am glad that by colourising these photos more people are aware of the happenings of WWII.”
Paul explained how he added colour to the old photographs and the problems he ran into along the way.
“I use a digital pen and pad and basically layer on the colour as you would with a painting,” he said.
“I’ve painted from an early age so this transition to digital was quite easy for me. The only problems I come across are the condition of the photos especially private commissions.
“Most are torn, folded, creased, water damaged, dust spots and discoloured which then has to be digitally repaired with a brush, this process usually takes longer than the paint, but the finished photo is 100% sharper and more pleasing on the eye.”
Striking images like these are featured in British author Michael D. Carroll’s new book, Retrographic on the colourisation of historical images. It is available on Amazon now for £16.85.