A black and white portrait of 1916 leader Thomas MacDonagh, recently colorized by Matt Loughrey.Matt Loughrey / My Colorful Past

The leaders of Ireland’s 1916 Rising; Irish ancestors who immigrated to Australia at the turn of the century; Marilyn Monroe sipping an Irish coffee at Shannon Airport. Thanks to photographs, we can picture all of these moments and people, but, beautiful as they are, there’s something about black and white images that can make the scenes they depict seem even more distant in time.

From LIFE magazine, May 1950 at Clearwater Florida. Color time 230 minutes..

Posted by My colorful past on Saturday, February 6, 2016

Matt Loughrey, an Irish photographer in Co. Mayo, has started a breathtaking photo project titled ‘My Colorful Past,’ for which he takes iconic images from the past and brings them to life in vivid color.

Original by Tom Lawlor. Dublin Airport mid-1970s. In her garden backing on to the apron Mary Ryan hangs out the washing. Color time 240 minutes.

Posted by My colorful past on Thursday, February 4, 2016

"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,” he told IrishCentral.

Roger Casement and John Devoy in New York, 1914. Photo colorized by Matt Loughrey / My Colorful Past

Roger Casement and John Devoy in New York, 1914. Photo colorized by Matt Loughrey / My Colorful Past

“I have made use of software since the 1990's in light of graphic design and digital art, and by far I’ve found colorization to be the most involved process to date. Any given photograph will take in excess of four hours to complete faithfully, occasionally up to 12 hours.”

Maud Wagner in 1882. So say Americas first tattooed lady, She traveled with the Barnum & Bailey Circus for much of her life. Color time 300 minutes.

Posted by My colorful past on Sunday, January 10, 2016

So how does it work? “Color selection is based solely on mathematics, in that red noise elements are very much apparent in any given monochrome image, the closer the elements are together signals to me the darker the shade,” he explained.

1956 at Shannon airport, Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Milller find a corner for Irish Coffees. Color time 170 minutes.

Posted by My colorful past on Monday, February 29, 2016

“At this point I employ logic and research of the era to make the accurate color choice. The colorization itself is by digital pen and softlighting using layers.”

March 1965. John Young is the only astronaut to have flown aboard the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle spacecraft. In...

Posted by My colorful past on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Both archival groups and private clients have been taking note, leading Loughrey to work on a wide range of images, from Australia to Alabama.

1922 at the Sydney womens reformatory. Alice Cooke, described by Sydney NSW police as "rather good looking" she had...

Posted by My colorful past on Sunday, January 10, 2016

“Building this as a venture has been a lot of fun over the last year, it has brought my work to the attention of the Sydney museum, the Kennedy space center and even Ireland's GAA,” he said.

June 5th 1966; The Republic of Ireland team, back row, from left, Tommy Carroll, Paddy Mulligan, Al Finucane, Pat Dunne,...

Posted by My colorful past on Sunday, January 31, 2016

“In the short term I hope to engage more with National Libraries both here in Ireland and abroad and bring colorization to their respective collections"

The seven signatories of the Proclamation of Independence, also remembering Con Colbert, Edward Daly, Roger Casement,...

Posted by My colorful past on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Indeed, one of the projects he’s been the most excited about is access from the National Library of Ireland to commons photography of the leaders of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising.

Thomas Clarke. Photo colorized by Matt Loughrey / My Colorful Past

Thomas Clarke. Photo colorized by Matt Loughrey / My Colorful Past

After spending dozens of hours colorizing portraits of all of the Proclamation signatories as well as Michael Collins, he’s said he’s especially proud to share these images in color for the first time ever ahead of the centenary.

Michael Collins delivering a speech in Co. Cork. Photo colorized by Matt Loughrey / My Colorful Past

Michael Collins delivering a speech in Co. Cork. Photo colorized by Matt Loughrey / My Colorful Past

His colorcast of Michael Collins delivering a speech in Cork also recently made it to Ontario and into the hands of Larry Carroll, one of Collins’ living descendants.

Larry Carroll of Ontario with the colorized photograph of his relative, Michael Collins

Larry Carroll of Ontario with the colorized photograph of his relative, Michael Collins

“To portray best the art of colorization it is vital to select unique characters, eras and events. The more complicated the photograph, the better the end result,” Loughrey explained.

Sean MacDermott. Photo colorized by Matt Loughrey / My Colorful Past

Sean MacDermott. Photo colorized by Matt Loughrey / My Colorful Past

“There is a factor of great respect when you are working on these pieces, especially 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.”

David Jones (Bowie) in 1955 during his time at Burnt Ash Primary School, Bromley, London. Color time 50 minutes.

Posted by My colorful past on Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Enjoy the following video of all of his colorcasts to date, and visit the My Colorful Past Facebook page to stay updated on Loughrey’s work.

My Colorful Past

People have shared and commented on my work here over the last while. A lot of that is down to the efforts and advice afforded by Caroline Ryan at Stair na hÉireann - History of Ireland. It's a very therapeutic process to study faces and places for hours at a stretch and my perception of history has morphed. you ask many questions of yourself too. Please enjoy some of my work to date in this video, Any given monochrome image will take between three and five hours to colorize faithfully, sometimes far longer. My colorful past is open for business and you can reach me here.

Posted by My colorful past on Saturday, February 20, 2016