Boeing Stratocruiser, the jumbo of the 50s, brought to life with color

May 21, 2022

It is an art in itself – bringing ageing black and white photos back to life with brilliant color.

In his latest efforts, the 24-year old Frenchman Benoit Vienne has worked on the famous jumbo of the 1950s the Boeing Stratocruiser.

For Mr Vienne colorization is a passion that started years ago when playing historical video games. That passion was ignited when he discovered colorized photos on the internet.

“I was so impressed by the feeling a colorized photo can bring.

“A lot of young people feel a bit disconnected when they see a black and white photo but when it’s colorized, the feeling is completely different.

“When you see a colorized photo, you feel close to the people. You connect.”

But it is far from a simple process taking hours of meticulous work.

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“Colorizing a black and white photo can take a lot of time and sometimes you have to repair it first, says Mr Vienne.

“The aim of the colorist is to bring back to life a moment that was captured through a photo. When you colorize, you bring back people to life, it’s a sort of second life for them.”

“Of course, most of the colorists (including myself) are trying to respect the colors of the past. When you are colorizing a photo of a soldier or an aviator, you have to respect the colors of the time.“

But first Mr Vienne had to master photoshop – an art in itself.

“I started to colorize in early 2015 but it was really hard to use photoshop because it was the first time that I was using the program.“

But months of practice had paid big dividends with Mr Vienne colorizing hundreds of military photos of British, French American, and German soldiers as well as civilian portraits and weddings.

For Mr Vienne has colorized hundreds of airline interior and aircraft pictures that have proved very popular with the website’s millions of followers.

Many of the Boeing and McDonnell Douglas colorized images have also been donated back to Boeing’s Historical Archives.