INCREDIBLE IMAGES: Artist adds color to famous black and white photos

ByRachel Schwartz KFSN logo
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Abraham Lincoln
Charles Darwin
Theodore Roosevelt
Anne Frank
Mark Twain
Charlie Chaplin
Thich Quang Duc, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who burned himself to death in Saigon in 1963.
Cab Stand in Madison Square Garden c. 1900.
Holiday goers in Atlantic City, New Jersey c. 1905.
Broadway in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1915.
The artist's mother and aunt as children.
The artist's great-grandmother.
The artist's mother.
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Abraham Lincoln
Sanna Dullaway

An artist is giving people a window into the past by taking famous black and white photos and adding color.

Twenty-three-year-old Sanna Dullaway began colorizing historic images three years ago after seeing the Pulitzer Prize-winning image of Thich Quang Duc, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who burned himself to death in Saigon in 1963.

"I thought the fire looked very dull in black and white, and tried setting color to the flames," Dullaway said in an email to ABC. "It turned out pretty well, so I tried coloring the rest of the photograph."

Thich Quang Duc, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who burned himself to death in Saigon in 1963.
Sanna Dullaway

When Dullaway posted the finished image on Reddit, the response was overwhelming and she began colorizing historical images full-time.

Since then, Dullaway has colorized portraits of famous historical figures including Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and Anne Frank. She also works on landscapes, including her favorite image -- a photograph of a busy street in Saratoga Springs, New York from 1915.

Broadway in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1915.
Sanna Dullaway

"It had so many details; the atmosphere was so pleasant," she said. "I'd just love to spend a day in that town and just stroll around, during that day and age."

In addition to being her favorite, Dullaway says that project was also her most difficult and time consuming. She uses a drawing tablet and Photoshop to work on the images but says that the hardest part is the knowledge of color and light required to make the images look realistic.

Dullaway also works on private commissions, colorizing photos of people's relatives who have passed away.

"The response I get is so genuine and thankful," she said. "They all say it's like they've come alive again."

Dullaway lives outside of Stockholm, Sweden. More of her work can be found on her Facebook page and website.