The technology has arrived through which black-and-white historic photographs can be converted to colour by a simple computer programme. The effect is convincing, but has yet to be proved absolutely infallible.
Clearly, there is potential to enrich Air-Britain’s publications in this way.
Would colour added by computer enhance or cheapen magazine articles?
Might the debate be informed by a demonstration in the pages of Aviation World?
Members' opinions are welcome. Paul Jackson, Editor
I guess I have one foot in each camp. I actually like to see old photos they way they were taken, in black & white! But I can also see a clear merit in showing things how they actually were! Humans have after all always been able to see the world in colours.... My main reason for dislike is the many "crooks" out there trying to fake the truth without saying the photo has been colourised. If we can avoid such problems, I would say it is OK with me.
You have most likely also come across the other trend, that is to make modern photos look older by converting them into black & white instead. It is almost like it has become a sort of game to try and fool people who look. I don't like that!
I also agree with Geoff. Whilst such images (and indeed recent films/documentaries) are undoubtedly interesting, the actual colours used are at the whim of the illustrator/colourer. There is no real way of knowing if they are historically correct. A slippery slope I think.
Don't overlook the fact that you took those pictures, so would have some idea of what they ought to look like when colourised. And with more recent aircraft, there may be genuine colour shots around that might be used as references.
Many of the colourised images appearing on the web were taken 70 or more years ago. The other day I saw a colourised version of a famous pre-war shot by the legendary, magnificent Charles E Brown. The "colouriser" should be taken out and shot.
As an organisation for serious historians we should not even be considering this suggestion. By all means colourise your photos if you want to use them on Christmas Cards, but not to illustrate the past !
The general view seems to be that computer-aided addition of colour is not wise in a serious, historic publication—an opinion amply confirmed by the image of a Gloster Gladiator seemingly in the ‘Utterly Butterly’ aerobatic team colours.
We continue the quest for means to widen readership of Aviation World, but note that this is not one of the answers.
I have been following this thread with some interest. One thing that puzzles me is why colouring side view drawings such as are used in the Davies/ Machat books or Profiles Is OK but using a picture as the basis for colouring is not acceptable providing that it is made clear?
To follow up I did say "providing it is made clear" And I have enough trust in the editors to believe that would be done in Air Britain publications if such photos were used. These "coloured" photos are out there in all fields not just aviation. As a result I'm afraid we'll have to learn to live with them. So if they add to the article and are clearly identified why not use them?
I already had this album with people in it showing the before and afters of each. www.flickr.com/photos/elaref/sets/72157714617228287/ You could say that generally, colourisation was an improvement for that where, as long as it applies skin tones, grass etc., it looks OK apart from a couple of areas (The three figures in front of a Shackleton and the two women with a young child) where the legs and clothing are a bit grey. So the algorithms have a bit to go yet even for those. They will never cope, as I said above with a multicoloured fleet like Braniff's or Court line. I can do a more accurate job myself with transparent coloured layers in photoshop, but it takes a lot more time. This was for a young rep's leaving card. He was joining a competitor and getting a BMW X1 as a company car