Colourising (Two Young Girls with Dolls, c.1925 via Getty Images.it)

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Given how vivid this monochrome image is, I don’t know how much colorisation lends or detracts. What I mostly feel is that the girls are so “present” – they don’t have that sepia-washed-out-they’re-probably-dead-now quality that makes some colourising appear almost invasive – that it just gives a new dimension to the pleasure you get from it.

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I’m not enough of an expert to say to what extent it’s Photoshop and to what extent hand-colouring, but clearly a human knowledge of physical environment, clothing and accessories like dolls etc. helps to get a lifelike, plausible result. The girls’ hair, for example, looks pretty much the same tonality in the b&w, but the girl on the right has much lighter hair in the colour version: subtle differences that the eye has difficulty seeing, or just personal choice on behalf of the colourist?

I remember once seeing the b&w version on a Pinterest board, and the pinner mentioning the name of the maker of the doll on the right, and what a rare and valuable specimen it is today – good luck finding the same board now I need it. I got my information about the original via the Shorpy.com vintage photo blog – they gave Getty Images.it as the source, with the caption and approximate date, but not the photographer.

I wonder why they’re saying “Shhh!!”…..the doll on the right doesn’t look remotely sleepy…..!!

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