Posted on August 10 2016
This week's Wednesday Woman is the incredibly talented Marina Amaral, a digital colorist from Brazil. Marina brings to life black and white photos from important moments in history. Here's her story:
Newnham: Can you tell us about your background and how you got into colorization?
Amaral:Before working with the colorizations, I never had any contact with the area of photography or arts in general. I was an International Relations student and I never imagined that one day I would be able to turn my two greatest passions into a real job. I'm only 21, and it has been a gift that I have this opportunity to build my career doing something that I love to do.
My interest began by accident, actually. I found a few colorizations on the internet, and in that very same day I decided I wanted to try and create that magic. Since then, I've been practicing and developing my techniques every day.
Newnham: What excites you about the process and how do you decide what pictures to work on?
Amaral:I choose the photos according to my personal interest, but it needs to be important/relevant in some way. I like coloring powerful images, photos that has a great message to spread or that are able to bring to light a great story that is not so well known or remembered by people in general.
Newnham: Can you talk us through the process of colorization from start to finish?
Amaral: It is necessary to study and do a lot of research first. It's very precise work and each object in the photo needs to be studied, so I'll be able to use its original colors. I read historical documents, I watch videos, I spend hours searching on websites, I talk to experts if necessary, I read books, all to gather as much information as I can about that picture.
Sometimes, when I can't find enough information, I need to use an educated guess, but only in small details. Then, the colorization itself begins. Every inch is colored by hand, which means absolutely nothing in the process is automatic. Each photo needs a different time to be done - some are finished in a few hours, and others can take days or even months. I'm such a perfectionist, so I dedicate a lot of time taking care of all the details.
Newnham: What have been some of your favorite pieces to work on and why?
Amaral: This is one of my favorites so far. The photo is extremely powerful, and the story behind it is devastating.
Sometimes it's hard for me to understand how something as horrible as the Holocaust could happen, and I think the colors make this event even more real in our minds.
Newnham: Indeed. Your work is amazing and you have said that by adding color, it allows one to return to some of the most important moments in time - is there a particular period of history you would like to return to and why?
Amaral:I don't know if I'd like to have lived during this time, because the social conditions were not very favourable to women, but I'd like to at least spend some time in the medieval era. The clothes, the food, the music, the castles, the lifestyle. This is a completely fascinating era in almost every aspect.
Newnham: What is your dream when it comes to your work? What drives you?
Amaral: My dream is to produce something for the History Channel. I practically grew up watching their documentaries, I work watching these, and it would be a huge achievement to be able to work with them in a project someday.