Truccare la storia: la colorizzazione digitale delle foto d’archivio del Colorized History Movement

Elena Gipponi


Due to technological constraints and deeply rooted cultural conventions, black and white has long been the stylistic mark of still and moving documentary images, especially of the official ones. This article focuses on a particular act of postproduction which alters the chromatic look of black and white historical photographs: the images retouched by the so-called Colorized History Movement, an online community of professional graphic designers and self-defined “amateur historians” who submit to a meticulous digital colorization process black and white photographs coming from different archives—but especially from the Library of Congress. The artificial colour, added at a later date for cosmetic effect on the originally achromatic surface, becomes here a way to reuse and re-write the visual culture of the XX and XXI centuries. Through the analysis of a corpus of colorized images, the essay reconstructs the production and reception contexts of these images, the purposes that move the authors of this practice and the feedbacks and comments of the users.


archive; color; photography; Colorized History Movement; graphic

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2280-9481/7386


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