Open Up a New Dimension...with Handcoloring

By: Michelle Bates

Hand coloring opens up an entirely new dimension in image making for the photographer.

Coloring can bring new life to old black and white images; one that reflects reality or creates a new, invented one. I've used Marshall's Oils to transform old black and white images from the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade, which I photograph every year, into full-color scenes that match the vibrancy of the event, and which I now shoot in color.

Selective coloring can be used to highlight certain areas of an image, creating a surreal scene that focuses attention on whatever the photographer chooses.

Or it can be part of the previsualization when photographing a new scene: "Hmm, I love everything about this scene except that those trees are just so green, and that sky is always blue, blue, blue..." Choose to alter the natural color scheme, or make a sunny day out of a gray one.

The process of painting color onto a photograph is wonderfully immediate. It gives the artist control over what is created in the moment, which can be a welcome respite from the many technical steps usually required between shooting and enjoying the final print. As photographers, we lose access to this immediacy; hand-coloring provides a bridge, and a fun way to get our hands dirty.

I love any technique in photography that breaks the bounds of the traditional rectangular, sharply focused, accurate representation of the world. One way I do this is by my use of a fuzzy image frame around my Holga images. This creates a unique look, and focuses the viewer's attention in a completely different way than does an image that uses the traditional format.

Hand coloring is another great tool that allows the artist's vision to flourish in an individual way.

Please Note : We will be closed on Monday, May 27th for the Memorial Day holiday. Orders placed after noon PDT on Friday, May 24th will ship on Tuesday, May 28th, 2019. Happy Holiday!