15 Odessa Of 1931 In Color

Odessa Of 1931 In Color

Posted on November 28, 2011 by


In the University of California, Santa Cruz, there is a large collection of photos (about 10 thousand!) of the Soviet Union, taken by photographer Branson DeCou who travelled around the country a lot. At that time they were able to take color photos but for some reason the photographer preferred to take black-and-white ones and then colour them by himself. Taking into account the fact that it took him several hours to color just one slide, how much time then did it take him to color the whole collection?


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Odessa, tourists at the port.

Odessa, a city council (or a city executive committee?).

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15 Responses to “Odessa Of 1931 In Color”

  1. briedis says:

    Why did he color all the people like clowns? :D

    • Noname says:

      Because these pictures were post-colored = original picture wac BW (gray-scale) and, after the processing of the film and pictures, those were colored by hands manually…

  2. geoff says:

    I would like to see those pictures in the original black and white. Some of them look almost like a cartoon now, the coloring has taken the original “character” or “feel” away from the scene.

  3. George Johnson says:

    You would think the people that colorized these photo’s, never actually looked at people’s faces.

    NOBODY, has rosy red cheeks like that, I mean, not everybody like that!

    They do, they look like the painter grew up in a household with nothing but clowns to go by.

  4. Otis R. Needleman says:

    Whenever I see pictures of the USSR of this time period, I always wonder just how many of the people in the pictures survived Stalin’s purges and the Second World War.

  5. stolichnaya says:

    When I see pictures like these, I want to colour my face like a clown and wear peasant clothes. Then I will eat cabbage and pierogies and think about socialism. Or not.

  6. Dina says:

    Pictures are colored correctly like the first old vintage type of color pictures, it’s based on black and white shading and yes people can have rosy cheeks especially in Odessa attributed to fresh sea air and sun and positive attitude of people of Odessa. I think the pictures and the people in them look charming and not like clowns at all.

  7. anx says:

    Beautiful pictures. Reminded me of pictures of Old Los Angeles I’ve seen recently.

  8. xyz says:

    great photos, awful coloring really. don’t look realistic at all

  9. andy says:

    Thanks ER for yet another swell collection from USSR. Yes, the hand-coloring seems overdone but just look at the awful ads on TV! Color film did not come into use until late 1930’s and was expensive and slow to process. Hand-coloring gave work to artists and was popular for decades. Despite the purges and terrible things, photos of crowds in Soviet times seem to show better dressed and some satisfactions and smiles – sorry all you Russia-haters – and I like to see that.

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