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These colorized photos give a different perspective on the American Frontier …

Alex A
Illinois 71st Infantry in 1862
Illinois 71st Infantry in 1862

Imagine the American frontier, it was in black and  white vision, right?- Now try to imagine it in color. But, you don’t have to because Matt Loughrey from My Colorful Past already did and he has done an outstanding work of more than 50 hours to colorize some iconic image from the Wild West.

Wisconsin girl in 1900 by Sumner Matteon.

We are always psyched when we stumble upon a colorized set because we love the thrill in reimagining the past with color perspective. Lucky for us, there are people like Loughrey who also love colorized photos, but unlike us, he knows how to make them.

Colorization was always something I wanted to teach myself and a good place to start was the photograph collection at my family home. I took to colorizing a photograph of my late Grandmother Josephine and that’s where it began.   Matt Loughrey told us in a recent interview.

c. 1885/ Original photo source  National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, /Colorized by Matt Loughrey


General George Crook c.a 1875 /Original photo source/Colorized by Matt Loughrey
General Sherman with Generals Howard, Logan, Hazen, Davis, Slocum, and Mower, photographed by Mathew Brady, May 1865/Original photo source/Colorized by Matt Loughrey

It is especially exciting to take a peek into this specific corner of the past from a color perspective since we read so many books and see so many black and white photos of the American Frontier  that is surely exciting to reimagine this long forgotten era from another perspective.

James Garfield in 1861/ Original photo source/ Colorized by Matt Loughrey

”Images of conflict and hardship invoke a response that’s measurable. In the human sense, conflict appears to shape history. Photography in itself is a modern format and around the Civil War period it was in its infancy, methods were being pioneered in order to document visually and Civil War photographs are a testament to that fact. Frontier life presents a romance with land, escapism, trial and hardships, all are the essence of adventure. Coloring frontier history is like journeying to the time, I thoroughly enjoy that experience.For a short while, I am the only person on the planet that is seeing these individuals in color. It’s somewhat spooky”. explained Loughrey.

William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody Original photo source: Smithsonian/Colorized by Matt Loughrey
William Tecumseh Sherman c.a 1860’s.Original photo source/Colorized by Matt Loughrey

”There is no doubt that the process takes a form of patience, but out of this comes a new appreciation. I find I ask a lot of questions about myself as opposed to the individuals I colorize. It’s arguably quite a therapeutic process. There is also a factor of great respect when you are working on commission pieces for individuals, essentially you are looking at family members of the past, friends, and loved ones. You have to do it justice and the feedback to date from clients is rewarding”.

Wisconsin girl in 1900 by Sumner Matteon. Original photo source/Colorized by Matt Loughrey