Art, , , ,

#lamonochats: Marina Amaral, coloring history

Thursday, September 15th, 2016 | T: lamono

Some people say dreams and memories come in black and white. Regardless, intensity and emotion come in full bright colors, since they shine and abode the most important moments of a lifetime. Marina Amaral understands the importance of coloring transcendent events, as she has spent years bringing back the color to important historic photographs. Her hands have their very own explosion of pigments, for which Marina carefully finds the right place. The atmosphere gains power through the tonal characteristics endowed by this young artist, who believes only color can create a deep understanding between the image and the viewer. Now it’s possible to look one or two hundred years back in time and see a reality as authentic as the one we know today. Thank you Marina. T: Xiana Cid.

Since you were ten years old you are an expert with Photoshop, how did this passion arise? Honestly, I have no idea. I had a blog at the time and decided that I wanted to create graphic images to use there. For some reason I found Photoshop and began exploring the software in order to learn how to create those images I needed to have on my blog. Then I started to practice every day, using Youtube videos to assist me during the process. Gradually, I learned to work with it and got used to all its tools. When I started to colorize the pictures it was not easy, but it was not so hard to understand the basics because I already knew the tools.

Color is information. Do you think color helps us to discover the history behind each photograph? As I always like to say, I believe that colors have the power to create a deeper connection between the image and the viewer. Sometimes it’s hard to connect with a photograph when you see it in black and white. When you look at a black and white photograph, you have the feeling that you’re seeing something that happened so long ago, and sometimes it doesn’t even feel like a real event. Colors change that. At least I feel this way.

How do you decide which color to use in each photograph? Is it something that comes from a previous research or from your own inspiration? Definitely not. Every photograph goes through a deep and long process of research before I begin colorizing it. Every and each object that I can identify in the image is individually researched: medals, uniforms, an ancient pot, skin, eyes, hair, etc. I need to go through historical archives, old newspapers, websites, traditional paintings, modern photographs, books, to gather all the visual descriptions I need to reproduce the real colors. When I don’t find enough information to fill these gaps, I’m forced to choose a “random” color, but I do my best to use the original ones.

How do you select the photographs you colorize? I choose them based on my personal interest in a historical period or event. I have always loved to study the WWI and the WWII, that’s why I have so many war photos in my portfolio. But I love to work with pictures that are portraying an important moment in history, in the sense of being an event that is stuck in people’s minds, like the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth or the monk burning himself in Vietnam.

As I always like to say, I believe that colors have the power to create a deeper connection between the image and the viewer


General Patton

You do you think that by colorizing these photographs you are creating an alternative viewpoint that leads people to imagine how were things back then? That’s my main goal. I don’t want to replace the original photographs in any way. I just want to create a second perspective and give people the opportunity to see these events as they really happened 100 or 200 years ago, by seeing them in vivid and bright colors.

From all the photographs you have colorized, is there a special one for you? I have a personal connection with the Holocaust story for some unknown reason. When I was a kid, I read “The Diary of a Young Girl”, and I’ve been thinking on Anne Frank since then. I’m so touched by her story, her suffering, her strength, and I understand that this little girl could be me. So I’d love to colorize a photo of her. I never did it because her photographs are all protected by copyrights, but I’ll find a way to do that someday, maybe. As for my favorite, I finished this one recently and I really like how it looks:


Do you consider yourself a historian or an artist? I think a little of both, but I’m closer to an artist. To call me a historian, I believe, I would have to know and to study a lot more than I do now. Despite being completely passionate about history, I respect a lot the dedication historians have and I have no right to believe that I am one of them.

Tell us about your upcoming projects, is there something you can reveal to us? I have so many projects! I’m currently working on the idea of two books and will launch a series of colorized portraits soon. My main goals are to set an exhibition of my work and work on a documentary. Hopefully I’ll be able to do all this very soon.


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Lee Harvey Oswald



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