Interview by Maria Rochelle
I’m so excited today to share with you an interview
with Marina Amaral who specializes in photo
colorization. She combines two of my favorite things:
history and photography. She takes a black and white
photo which has usually has some historic interest
and puts her special touch and transforms the picture
to color. She also goes in detail of who is in the
picture and gives you some information on them.
Read more about her in this interview.
How long have you’ve been restoring and colorizing
black and white photos?
I started two years ago, in 2015.
What is the first one you ever did?
I think it was a portrait of a Confederate soldier of
the American Civil War. Now I look at it and I think
it’s terrible, but I felt really proud when I managed
to finish it.
What do you love about colorizing black and white
I love to look at a photo in color for the first time
and feel that I’m giving myself and the viewer the
opportunity to see that particular event or person in
color for the first time ever. It’s almost a magical
With all your pictures,they all seem to be tied to
history.I’ve enjoyed looking at many of them. I see
them and I think “it’s now” instead of say 1925 when
the actual photo was taken. How does it make you feel
as an artist to show the photos in a different light,
which colors can do to any photograph and do you see
yourself as an artist? I think you are and that you
create beautiful magic with your skills.
Thank you! This practice of colorization of black and
white photos involves lots of different things –
research, historical knowledge, ability to use the
software, but it also involves and requires an
artistic sensibility, which is something that makes
all the difference, in my opinion. I had never seen
myself as an artist before, but now I realize that
not everything depends on the technique. You need to
have this sensibility to be able to look at the black
and white photo and create in your mind the image
that you want to reproduce. So when I look at the
photo for the first time, I immediately begin to
visualize the lightning, the atmosphere that I’d like
to create, the details and the colors that I want to
Your first book is called “Colour of Time,” which you
collaborated with bestselling historian Dan Jones on.
I actually read about you through Dan Jones’ twitter
feed and became fascinated with your work through
him. How did you and Dan come up with the idea and
how did you decide to pick which photographs?
Dan and I met and he invited me to develop this
project a little over a year ago. He already had the
concept on his mind, which was something that I loved
since the beginning. We are trying to tell a story
not only through the texts, but also through the
photographs. So they are not being randomly chosen.
What can the readers expect to see with the book?
We’re going to talk about the history of every nation
of the world from 1850s to 1950s, which means that we
are covering a hundred years of world history on this
first book. We are talking not only about events that
have taken place in Europe and the United States, but
are also exploring facts that are little known but
which are highly important in the history of places
such as China, Japan, Canada, Mexico, etc. We have
200 exclusive colorized photos and Dan’s narrative
anchoring each image in its chronological context.
It’s a format that has never been explored before. We
have high expectations, and hopefully, people will
appreciate the effort that we’re putting on it. I can
guarantee it will be a fantastic book!
Do you have a favorite period in history?
I love the medieval era.
Is there a photograph that you would like to restore
and colorize that you haven’t had a chance to do?
I’d like to do something with the photographs of the
Brazilian Expeditionary Force in World War II, but
unfortunately it is very hard to have access to them
in high resolution.
Do you have a favorite one and if so why?
My favorite is the one of Czeslawa Kwoka, the young
girl that was murdered in Auschwitz, for a number of
reasons. I wanted to give her the chance to present
herself, to “say” her name and to tell her story.
Judging by the messages that I receive almost every
day, I think I managed to do that and I feel very
glad and proud of it.
Tell me three fun facts about you.
I can tell you three random facts about me.
I was hit by a truck when I was 12.
I’m self-taught and I don’t get along very well
when I need to take regular classes
I’ve never watched Titanic.
I share motivational quotes and inspiring quotes with
my readers. Do yo have one you can share?
The greatest failure is not to try.
If you could change one thing in history, what would