“My Colorful Past”

comments 5

Matt Loughrey, an Irish photographer and digital artist has been doing good work colorising black-and-white photographs of criminals from 19th century, immigrants on Ellis island and heroes of the Irish rebellion and other famous and obscure historical figures. (You can see more of his work here.)

He recently got in touch to let me know he’d colorised some of the mug shots I’ve posted on Small Town Noir, and he sent a video showing the transitions from black-and-white to colour. I’ve taken screen captures of the individual photographs, which I’ve posted below.

I prefer the original photographs, but I admit that these versions look amazing. The skin tones, the scars and blemishes, the eyes — it’s fantastic work.

Alice Steel,“Dis Cond”, 24 Aug 1936Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.10.14.png

Larry Day, “Drunk”, 6 July 1948 Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.12.41.png

Frank Soda, “Adultery, Bastardy”, 5 March 1946Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.10.55.png

Paul Bailey,“Dis Conduct”, 18 April 1948Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 13.11.52.png

And here’s the video Matt sent:


  1. atrmws says

    Mary Made Me
    by atrmws

    One imagines Alice blushing with anxiety
    Oh mother, Mary made me
    I cut my knee

    It was so very hot, the boys had brought beer
    And the flags and Mr Landon and the cheer
    He was so very near

    Daisies wet with tears, Auntie Mae
    Must look at her and say
    My dress, you’ll pay

  2. Wow, Diarmid, his work is fantastic. The black and white originals are more my thing, as a collector of vintage photos but Matt’s work is fantastic. He is very talented and dedicated to getting the finest details just right.

    atrmws has visited you once more. They have been at mine, too. Very ingenious wordsmith, eh?

  3. I wonder who tore Alice’s dress and if they were also arrested? I normally focus on faces and I hadn’t noticed how badly dishevelled she was until seeing the colouring.

    The film Matt made is beautifully done. I loved the music and the use of the early map of New Castle.

    Look out for your mugshot on my blog, soon (ish). Best wishes, Kate.

    • Yes, I feel the same way as you about the black-and-white originals being better, but the colorisation is terrifically well done and, like you say, it can make you notice things you might have overlooked. And yes, hooray for atrmws!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s