Resaturated with Life: Historical Photos Colorized by Grant Kemp

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Colorization by Grant Kemp of an original daguerreotype of an unidentified woman and infant in the Ann Longmore-Etheridge Collection. The inscription on the reverse reads, “Taken September 12th, 1854. The child was 28 days old.”

Recently, I was honored that Grant Kemp, of restoringyourpast.co.uk and a truly remarkable artist, chose two of my daguerreotypes to colorize. The results were utterly revitalizing, as can be seen from the comparison below.

Grant says of himself, “Trained as a Graphic Designer, I have a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Graphic Design. During my long graphics and print career, I have used design, image software and scanners from every leading supplier including the highest resolution drum scanners. I bring all of my industry experience to the Restoring Your Past service. Graphic design, image scanning, newspaper/magazine production, web, litho, and digital printing experience means I can offer a graphics service that’s based on having dealt with just about every sort of image destined for any type of output.”

Enjoy these samples of his work and if you have old family photographs to restore or colorize, a better digital artist than Kemp is unlikely to be found.

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Taken in 1877 by John Thomson, this image was first seen in ‘Street Life in London.’ The subject was the widow of a tailor. In her arms was an infant for whom she cared for whilst the mother was at work in exchange for a cup of tea and a piece of bread.
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1/6th Plate Daguerreotype of wealthy Vermont native Brevet Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Amory Tucker, taken in March 1853. Ann Longmore-Etheridge Collection.
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“Taken 115 years ago, Mark Twain (real name: Samuel Langhorne Clemens) on the steps of a porch with his lifelong friend John T. Lewis, the inspiration for the character Jim in the ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,'” writes Kemp.
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This is the most revivifying colorization I have ever beheld. Of it, Kemp writes, “A face that’s witnessed some real history, but looks unimpressed with this new-fangled photography lark. Taken nearly 170 years ago, the lady in this daguerreotype portrait would have been born around 1780, it is fascinating to think that when she was growing up George Washington became the first President of the United States, the French Revolution took place, George III was King of Great Britain and Ireland, and Paul I reigned as Emperor of Russia.”
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“This portrait of a Native American woman holding her baby in a beaded cradleboard was taken in 1908 by Edward S. Curtis. I was tasked with producing this colourised version to try and bring the image to life, hopefully, it’s been successful,” notes Kemp. “A simple, but perfect composition suits the complex mix of bright colours surrounding the vibrant red of the Apsáalooke (Crow) elk-tooth dress.”
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Hampshire, England, early 1900s.
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The real Alice in Wonderland, Alice Liddell, aged 7, photographed by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) in 1860.
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“Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836–1917) was the first woman in Britain to openly qualify as a doctor, co-founder of the New Hospital for Women and the first female dean of a British medical school. She was also the first female doctor of medicine in France, the first woman to be elected to public office in Britain and the country’s first female mayor and magistrate,” states Kemp.

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Happy Thanksgiving to my readers in the United States!

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Author: Ann Longmore-Etheridge

Writer, journalist, editor, historian.

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