The frenchman who brings color to aviation

by Christine Forbes Smith
5059
September 16, 2020
color to aviation
Jackson McGowan GM of the Douglas DC-6/7 aircraft programs with flight attendants from ailrine customers.

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

And for 23-year old Frenchman Benoit Vienne who brings color to aviation, it is a passion that started years ago when playing historical video games. That passion was ignited when he discovered colorized photos on the internet.

See our Jet Age special reports

“Bringing black and white aviation to life” – Benoit Vienne

Check out the stunning work of Benoit Vienne as he expertly brings these black and white aviation images to full color.“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,” explains Benoit.Which is your favourite image? Let us know in the comments section below. 👇To see the full article go to: https://www.airlineratings.com/news/frenchman-brings-color-aviation/

Posted by Airlineratings.com on Monday, 29 October 2018

“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 its 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.

“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.”

color to aviation
Qantas and Boeing executives and their wives about to board the airline’s first 707 for its delivery flight to Australia. in 1959 Boeing photo colorized by Benoit Vienne.

“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.

color to aviation
Braniff flight attendants pose on the mockup of Lockheed’s entry in the US SST competition. Lockheed Martin photo colorized by Benoit Vienne.

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

color to aviation
Boeing’s then-President Bill Allen (center) puts his hand on the back of test pilot Tex Johnston as he walks out to take the prototype 707 for its first flight in 1954. Boeing photo colorized by Benoit Vienne.

Mr. Vienne has done work for Qantas and Boeing as well.

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

color to aviation
Boeing’s then-President Bill Allen (left) with test pilot Tex Johnston after the first flight of the prototype 707 in 1954. Boeing photo colorized by Benoit Vienne.

And it is one thing to colorize a photo the research into the right colors is another.

One example is a wine bottle from 1955 in one image (below) that Mr. Vienne was able to research and get the correct color palette.

color to aviation
Dinner service aboard a British Airways Stratocruiser in 1954. British Airways photo colorized by Benoit Vienne.

And the end result is many people do not believe that the photo has been colorized.

“Sometimes, a colorized photo can look so real that people say it isn’t colorized.”

color to aviation
Pan American World Airways President Juan Trippe with Douglas Aircraft Company founder Donald Douglas Snr. These two men were among the most influential in shaping commercial aviation in the last century. Boeing Historical Archive colorized by Benoit Vienne

AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas says that Mr. Vienne’s work is extraordinary and he really does bring “color to aviation.”

“His work with skin tones is amazing. With so many colorized photos you know immediately that it is colorized but with Mr. Vienne’s it’s almost impossible to tell,” said Mr. Thomas.

color to aviation
Boeing’s then-President Bill Allen with Pan Am’s Juan Trippe with one of the first 747s. These two men drove the 747 project. Boeing Historical Archive colorized by Benoit Vienne.

“What thrills me is that great people and great moments in aviation are brought to life.”

“The photos are of Boeing heroes like Bill Allen, Tex Johnston, and Joe Sutter (below) father of the 747.”

color to aviation
Joe Sutter, chief designer of the 747. Boeing photo colorized by Benoit Vienne

“Each photo we now colorize of Boeing aircraft or people goes back to the Boeing Historical Archive,” said Mr. Thomas

color aviation
The center two gentlemen in this photo are Joe Sutter (father of the 747) and Jack Steiner (father of the 727 and 737). This is a final design meeting on the 727 project. Mr. Steiner is holding the model of the final configuration. Boeing Historical Archives colorized by Benoit Vienne.

The photo above took lots of research and fortunately Mr. Thomas had just been in the Boeing archives and photographed some of the historic models in the foreground so Mr. Vienne had the right colors.

color aviation
Sir Freddie Laker with his first Skytrain service across the North Atlantic. Picture colorized by Benoit Vienne.

The photo above is of Sir Freddie Laker who fought the British establishment to launch his Skytrain service across the North Atlantic which revolutionized low-cost travel.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Technically competent. Miss seeing other manufacturers though, like Sud-Aviation & Convair, even Soviet designers not shown. Also, the sexist message so often normal in advertising is prevalent. One doesn't expect it, but if those wee missing fine. Would have loved to see Caravelles and C-880's, even military aircraft.