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Colorizing History – Bringing Black and White Photographs Back to Life!

“Photoshopping” The Past

A gallery of black and white photographs I colorized using “my favorite” imaging software, Adobe Photoshop. See a few famous as well as not so famous faces. See also my colorization of life masks and de-aging using action figure heads.

Not so famous faces

Mary Chaney Thompson
Mary Chaney Thompson (1847-1920)
Anna Daniel Gardner
Anna Daniel Gardner (1871-1953)
Henry Daniel
Henry Daniel (1874-1953)

Famous Faces

John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)
Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877)
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Nathan Bedford Forrest by Matthew Brady. Original photos: from the collections of Matt Hagans and Steve and Mike Romano

Life Mask Colorization

James Madison
James Madison (1751-1836)

See What Did The Founding Fathers Look Like? – James Madison

De-Aging Using Photoshop’s liquify filter

Below, I used Photoshop’s Liquify filter on an action figure head to create a youthful version of my 4th-great grandfather.

Jackson Chaney
Jackson Chaney (1817-1894)

See more of my Photoshop creations!

Copyright & Disclaimer:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Transformed Images elsewhere on this site as a whole that I have created are free to anyone for NonCommercial use with attribution under the license above. Images on this site that are used by permission, logos and images of me do not fall under this license. While most of my image elements are public domain, my own, from free stock sites or from purchased stock sites , some elements may be from copyrighted sources and are in my best judgment, “transformative fair use” for use on this site. If you use a transformed image I created, keep in mind that some images may have elements from purchased stock sites or copyrighted elements within the transformed images. These elements may or may not be transferable for your use. To understand transformative fair use, please see the Creative Law Center’s post about copyright and fair use: Is it Fair Use? Using the Creative Work of Others

What Did The Founding Fathers Look Like? – James Madison

The Real James Madison

With so many variations among paintings, one wonders just what did the Founding Fathers of the United States really look like. When creating my graphic novel about founding father and 4th president James Madison I wanted to have an accurate portrayal of Madison for my book. No photographs of Madison exist, but we do have his life mask showing his exact likeness.

Using Madison’s life mask and Adobe Photoshop, I’ve attempted to create what Madison might have looked like in 1825.
I’ve created two variations, one with his signature comb-over point hairstyle and queue and another with a modern short hair cut. I tried to faithfully reproduce him based on the writings of the time about him.

John Browere’s Life Mask of James Madison

Here we have the life mask of James Madison. Below is a copy that is currently in possession of James Madison’s Montpelier. Fenimore Art Museum currently owns the original. The original mask was created by John Henri Isaac Browere in October 1825 for Madison while he was visiting Montpelier.

James Madison Bust by John Henri Isaac Browere
Source: James Madison’s Montpelier

“My Dear Sir:

Mr. Browere waits on you and Mrs. Madison with the expectation of being permitted to take your portrait busts from the life. As I have a sincere regard for him as a gentleman and a scholar, and great confidence in his skill as an artist (he having made two busts of myself), in the art which he is cultivating, I name him to you with much pleasure as being worthy of your encouragement and patronage. I am interested in having Mr. Browere take your likeness, for I have long been desirous to obtain a perfect one of you. From what I have seen and heard of Mr. Browere’s efforts to copy nature, I hope to receive from his hands that desideratum in a faithful facsimile of my esteemed friend ex-President Madison. Be pleased to present my most respectful regards to Mrs. Madison, and believe me always

Your most devoted friend,

Jacob Brown.”1

“From this introduction Browere seems to have gained the friendship of Mr. and Mrs. Madison, who took more than an ordinary interest in the artist and his family. They were on terms of familiar intercourse, and an infant, born to Mrs. Browere, July 3, 1826, was, by Mrs. Madison’s permission, named for her. Some years later this child accompanied her parents on an extended visit to Montpelier.”

That Madison was satisfied with the result of Browere’s skill is shown by the following:

Per request of Mr. Browere, busts of myself and of my wife, regarded as exact likenesses, have been executed by him in plaister, being casts made from the moulds formed on our persons, of which this certificate is given under my hand at Montpelier, 19, October, 1825.

James Madison.”2

James Madison Comes to Life

Using the bust from the above image, I created an image of Madison as he might have looked in 1825 with his signature pointed comb-over hairstyle. This was a little difficult to create because of the harsh lighting on his face.

James Madison Reading
Background Image Source: American Experience

“In his late 70s Madison was still mentally sharp. In 1828, one visitor found his conversation “a stream of history… so rich in sentiments and facts, so enlivened by anecdotes and epigrammatic remarks, so frank and confidential as to opinions on men and measures, that it had an interest and charm, which the conversation of few men now living, could have.” Physically, Madison’s “little blue eyes sparkled like stars from under his bushy grey eyebrows and amidst the deep wrinkles of his poor thin face” . With age, his complexion became yellowish, and his eyes “blepharitic” 1 (i.e. puffiness around the eyes).”3

Below is the same image with him now looking into the “camera.” Mr. Madison doesn’t look very happy in these images. However, I suppose it’s hard to be pleased when you’re plastered, literally. The drying time for a plaster face cast is approximately 15 minutes and can get warm, so I assume this process was very uncomfortable for him, thus rendering the stern look upon his face.

James Madison Looking at you
Background Image Source: American Experience

Here is the same image with a slight hairstyle change. I used this hairstyle for the “fictional character” of James Madison in my graphic novel.

James Madison Reading
Background Image Source: American Experience

These three images show a closer view of his face with some Photoshop tweaking to his eyes. Unfortunately, the original photo of the life mask does not afford me the quality nor the detail I genuinely need to work with. Hopefully, in the future, I will be able to get quality high-resolution images of this life mask and do justice to the face of my 2nd favorite president. Until then, these images give us a good indication of how he looked.

Three Faces of James Madison

Below, another view of the Browere Madison mask.

James Madison LIfe Mask
Source: Project Gutenberg, public domain

Here is the mask from the image above with skin, hair and bodies added with Photoshop.

Two instances of James Madison life mask colorized and placed on a body

See more of my James and Dolley Madison Photoshop creations at the following links.

An Intimate Tour of Montpelier with James and Dolley Madison

Playing with Thomas Jefferson – The Battle between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

James Madison – UFOs over Montpelier

Playing with James Madison – The Making of a Character

James and Dolley Madison – A Romance

James Madison Becomes A Second Amendment Meme

Sources & References:
1,2 Charles Henry Hart. “The Project Gutenberg EBook of Browere’s Life Masks of Great Americans” https://www.gutenberg.org/files/51890/51890-h/51890-h.htm
3Doctor Zebra. “Health and Medical History of President James Madisonhttp://www.doctorzebra.com/prez/g04.htm

Copyright & Disclaimer:

Some portions of images used in this post may be subject to copyright and are used only for criticism, commentary, and non-profit educational fair use.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Transformed Images elsewhere on this site as a whole that I have created are free to anyone for NonCommercial use with attribution under the license above. Images on this site that are used by permission, logos and images of me do not fall under this license. While most of my image elements are public domain, my own, from free stock sites or from purchased stock sites , some elements may be from copyrighted sources and are in my best judgment, “transformative fair use” for use on this site. If you use a transformed image I created, keep in mind that some images may have elements from purchased stock sites or copyrighted elements within the transformed images. These elements may or may not be transferable for your use. To understand transformative fair use, please see the Creative Law Center’s post about copyright and fair use: Is it Fair Use? Using the Creative Work of Others

An Intimate Tour of the Super Museum in Metropolis with Superman

 The Tour of the Super Museum in Metropolis Illinois with Superman

Intro

Using a Sideshow 1/6 scale Superman action figure and a little Adobe Photoshop magic I was able to create the perfect companion for my trip to the Super Museum in Metropolis Illinois.  Come along and see the photo tour of the Museum with me. At the end of this post see the video of the before and after Superman scenes.

Superman Arrives

Shocked, I couldn’t believe that Superman responded to my text and actually showed up at my house…. yes, the Man of Steel at my house! I felt that same giddy excitement that Lois Lane felt the day Superman visited her for the first time by landing on her balcony. Unlike Lois, at least I didn’t have to fall out of a helicopter to get his attention.1 Continue reading An Intimate Tour of the Super Museum in Metropolis with Superman

Happy 40th Birthday! 1979 Ford LTD

The 40th Anniversary of the 1979 Ford LTD

Happy Birthday 1979 Ford LTD

Intro….

I’ve owned a 1957 Thunderbird, several 1970’s Pontiac Trans Ams, a 1958 Edsel, several 1956 Fords, a few mustangs and have sold them all. The one car I’ve kept is a 1979 Ford LTD, surely not the most sought after classic but the ’79 LTD has remained one of my all time favorites.

2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the body style change for the LTD. The body style remained virtually unchanged from 1979 to 1987 with the ’79-’83 models offering a “single headlamp” version and a “dual headlamp” version.

1979 Ford LTDs
Source: (Left Image) Barn Finds, (Right Image) Digital Yarbs

As a tribute, this post features everything ’79 LTD…..Enjoy! Continue reading Happy 40th Birthday! 1979 Ford LTD

An Intimate Tour of Montpelier with James and Dolley Madison

The Tour of Montpelier with James and Dolley Madison

Intro….

December 2018, my friend Dave and I visited Montpelier, the plantation home of James Madison in Orange County, Virginia. The trip was enjoyable, but at that time Montpelier allowed no photos of the interior of the mansion. This was very disappointing.

We returned to Montpelier in June of 2019 after finding out we could now photograph the inside of the home. By this time, I was well into my science fiction graphic novel project about Madison. This visit allowed me to capture some lovely interior background photos for my project.

This post focuses on the interior of Montpelier.  I’ve added a little extra flavor by adding James and Dolley with dialogue to some of the photos as if we had visited them. I Photoshopped “modernity” background items out of some of the images, i.e., security cameras, air vents, perimeter roping, etc. to make it look more like Madison’s time. Click on the “Before” image links to see the original photos.
Continue reading An Intimate Tour of Montpelier with James and Dolley Madison

Visiting the Presidents, Part II – John Quincy Adams to Tyler too

The  Presidents of the United States of America….In Wax

Welcome to Part II of Visiting the Presidents.

We continue with John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin VanBuren, William Henry Harrison and John Tyler from Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Washington, D.C.
Continue reading Visiting the Presidents, Part II – John Quincy Adams to Tyler too

James Madison Becomes A Second Amendment Meme

James Madison Becomes a Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms Meme

Using some of the characters I’ve created with Photoshop, I have created a Second Amendment meme that has been used on social media.  Feel free to use this for non-commercial use regardless of your political bent.
Continue reading James Madison Becomes A Second Amendment Meme

James Madison – UFO’s over Montpelier

President James Madison – There’s UFOs over Montpelier

“Everybody’s flying and never touch the sky
There’s UFO’s over New York and I ain’t too surprised
Nobody told me there’d be days like these” – John Lennon

Well, maybe not over New York Mr. Lennon but certainly aliens are visiting Montpelier, the plantation home of James Madison in Orange County, Virginia, USA.
Continue reading James Madison – UFO’s over Montpelier

Visiting the Presidents – America’s Founding Fathers

The Founding Presidents of the United States of America….In Wax

I recently visited Madame Tussauds wax museum in Washington, DC. I got the chance to scratch off another bucket list item. I love history, and I especially love the presidents.  An early recollection from childhood was looking through a set of my mother’s encyclopedias and seeing huge beautiful colorful portraits of the presidents wondering just who these men were. So the quest to learn about them began. I even started collecting presidents memorabilia during childhood.

I was excited about visiting the wax museum as it was the closest thing I would ever get to meeting the presidents.  Below are some of my thoughts and photos of that visit. Continue reading Visiting the Presidents – America’s Founding Fathers

Playing with Thomas Jefferson – The Battle between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

President Thomas Jefferson in Science Fiction – The battle between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

Everyone knows the five essential elements of a story are: characters,  setting,  plot,  conflict, and resolution. Well, today’s post is about one of the many “conflict” parts of my graphic novel. This is part II of Playing with James Madison – The Making of a Character where Thomas Jefferson appears a 2nd time as a character and is having a severe conflict with his old friend James Madison. Continue reading Playing with Thomas Jefferson – The Battle between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison