The colorization of old black and white photographs has become more popular in recent times. See this collection of historic photographs, now retouched in full color, including the raising of the American flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima, Audrey Hepburn, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Che Guevara, Charlie Chaplin, Salvador Dalí, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway, and more. The color added to these iconic images helps bring them to life, as if they were taken by a modern camera today. The digital technique seems to be gaining in popularity.
I’ve tried my hand at colorizing old photographs of Oliver Cowdery (presumably) and David Whitmer in the past, with some success. I thought I’d round out the collection by doing the same work to an old photograph of Martin Harris, the last of the Three Witnesses. Continue reading
I have been pleasantly surprised at the great reception shown for the retouching and colorizing work I did on the daguerreotype that is thought to be Oliver Cowdery. Many kind people sent their compliments. The Church News chose to run a story on the piece and I conversed briefly with R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer, about the project for that story. It has since been re-published in the Deseret News and on LDS.org, which is a great honor, and I am thrilled that it has perhaps given Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture greater exposure.
One of the questions Scott asked me was if I had begun working on any other portraits from church history. While I was working on the Cowdery project, I had briefly glanced at some other photos, but when Scott asked the question I decided to research it more and seriously consider doing the same type of work to photos of all of the Three Witnesses, these being some of the founding figures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This, I thought, might help make these early persons of the Restoration just a bit more real and tangible to us in the present day. Continue reading
While any photographic likeness of the Prophet Joseph Smith seems to remain elusive or controversial at best, other early Church leaders have had somewhat better luck. In early 2006, Patrick A. Bishop was studying images in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division when he discovered a daguerreotype that caught his attention. It had the appearance of Oliver Cowdery, and he reported his findings and research on this image in BYU Studies the same year. Bishop substantiated the image as Oliver Cowdery based on the shared locality of the daguerreotypist, James Presley Ball, and Cowdery, the dating of the clothing, age of the subject, comparing the face with other known images of Oliver, and descriptions of Oliver, among other things. Continue reading