By Pierre Kosmidis
Markos Danezis, from Athens, Greece, has a special talent: He transforms old faded photos in realistic pictures, as if they were shot minutes ago, with the latest technology camera. Markos is dedicated to absolute historical accuracy and thoroughly researches all background of the photos he works on, in order to achieve the optimal result.
“With colourisation we see exactly what was shot by a photographer seven or more decades ago. My motivation is the color profiles, that is the modern day visualizations of old aircraft in color, exactly as they were back in the day.”
Acclaimed artist Markos Danezis is talking about the “secrets” of the art of colourisation and explains the step-by-step process for those who wish to test their skills.
When did you start the colourisations of old photos and what was your first project?
My first task when I started six years ago, was a Junkers G 24 HE of E.E.E.S .(Greek Company of Air Communications) in Tatoi airport, before WW2.
Do you prefer photos from a particular historical period and if so why?
I am really focused on EBA (Hellenic Royal Air Force), from the time of the interwar period (1920s and 1930s) to WW2 and in the 50s and 60s.
How much time you usually take to colourise a black and white photo and what are your “tools”?
Each black and white photo retouching and editing needs to be “cleaned” up from scratches and blemishes until they reach a point when I can start recolouring them.
The time needed depends on each picture, at least around 8 to 10 hours and at the most three days.
How true to the actual image do you remain?
Before I start with anything, I first do a historical research, to be sure of the details. To be able to be as accurate as possible and consequently faithful to reality, I have made my own color palettes, which reflect the colours and shades of each period.
What would you advise someone who would like to start colourising old photos?
Colourisation is a very creative and nice hobby, but it is also very “painful”.
You need to spent many hours in front of a computer monitor and spend a considerable amount of time researching historical data. Patience and perseverance are needed too!
Do you have any projects underway, what are your next steps?
I prepare photos for two books by Greek writers and I colourise photos professionally upon request on any topic and historical period.
I am also working on my project, to publish a photo album with several of my works, contrasting colourised wih black and white photography, including all the historical data we know about each photo.
What is the feedback you receive from those who see your work?
I have received many positive comments about my work. I owe a big thanks to all who helped me, all friends for their kind words, I am delighted with it and it gives me an incentive to continue.
I have also received widespread praise from an established writer and historical researcher, Carl Molesworth .
I was very proud and honoured when the son of Spiros Pissanos, the Greek aviator who scored ten kills by the end of WW2 and fought during the Second World War with the RAF volunteer American Eagles squadron and the 4th USAF Fighter Squadron saw a photo of his father I had colourised (see above and below) and congratulated me.
The “secrets” of colourisation in five steps
Markos Danezis shares his “secrets” of the colourisation process, from the actual black and white photo to the colourised one .
|The original photo|
|The same picture after the initial processing|
|The photo after the addition of the primary colors|
|A step (almost …) before the completion of colourisation|
|The result: The same photo with the original colors of the aircraft|
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