The past was as colorful as the present.
Colorist Jordan J. Lloyd made it his mission to take old black-and-white photographs and bring historical images to life in color. Jordan does extensive research in order to get the hues true to the historical moment. All this generates hundreds of gigabytes of data.
“With these really valuable historical archive materials that could be lost to time, it’s very reassuring to know that I’ve got a backup solution that isn’t going to fail.”
Read Jordan’s words below as he describes what he aims to accomplish, and why it matters. Watch the video at bottom to get a glimpse of Jordan at work.
History is a very abstract concept that you only learn about in school through textbooks.
You know, [students are] going through all these boring books with black and white photography, and all of a sudden when they see that stuff in color they go, “Oh, wow, I can really relate to my great grandmother.”
I take memories of the past, and make an authentic version of it.
I do a lot of record label work. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be published, and I have my book now: History as They Saw It: Iconic Moments from the Past in Color.
What your trying to do is piece together what’s going on in this photograph at the time it was taken. So the more visual information there is in the photograph, the longer it will take. And that involves digitally painting dozens if not hundreds or even thousands of individual layers of color onto that photograph.
I always record my process, from start to finish — from the moment I receive it to cleaning up, all the way through, adding all those references and tying in all the color at the end. And that soon starts generating literally hundreds of gigabytes of video footage.
I’ve got two Rugged hard drives which come out and about with me. So when I’m in an archive, I often scan in or take reference photos, and videos of references, and color references I think will be useful.
When I’m back in the studio and I’m working on my big machine, it’s great to know that I’ve got a single machine — the LaCie 6big —that I can backup all my work onto. It’s really handy to be able to have a robust storage system in place. I’m looking for reliability; something I know is not going to go wrong when I’m storing these priceless memories. I’m also looking for speed, because there’s a lot of images to get through, and I need something quick.
My entire career is digitally based. We might be working with physical material to start with, but ultimately with this modern workflow I’m looking at turning those hundreds of yards of physical photographs into hundreds of gigabytes of digital visual data.
Ultimately when I’m dealing with people’s memories, when I’m dealing with these really valuable historical archive materials that could be lost to time, it’s very reassuring to know that I’ve got a backup solution that isn’t going to fail.