Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

What a hand-tinted photo is

I love old photos. And one of my favorite things to find is an old photo of Phoenix that has been hand-tinted. Or, as Ted Turner might say, "colorized". Yeah, the colors are usually a little goofy, but, really I don't mind. It just seems to make the image look better to me.

The above photo of the intersection of 1st Avenue and Washington in 1917 is a perfect example. Yes, this was taken years before color photography, but, at the risk of sounding kind'a goofy, the world wasn't black-and-white, just the film was. In fact, the old black-and-white photos that we're used to seeing of the Victorian era make us think that during that time life was drab and dull. Far from it, the industrial revolution brought about an explosion of color, from ladies' dresses to decorative Victorian houses.

Of course, the large majority of cars were black, as Henry Ford insisted that you could have a Model T in any color you wanted, as long as it was black! The Chevrolet brothers offered their cars in different colors and went on to outsell Ford, mostly because of that. That red one there is probably a Chevy.

Grace. Photo by Eric Enstrom, hand-tinted by his daugher Rhoda Nyberg.

By the way, I have a personal connection to a very famous hand-tinted photo, called "Grace". You've probably seen it hanging at your grandparents' house, and most people think it's a painting. It's a photo that was taken in 1918 in Bovey, Minnesota by Eric Enstrom, and hand-tinted. The photos I have of my parents are Enstrom photos, from the 1940s. Look at the signature, it says "Nyberg", who was his married daughter, Rhoda. Color photography had long since been around, but many people still preferred the look of a hand-tinted photo.

Mary Lou Scinto

George Hall, USMC

More about Eric Enstrom here http://www.gracebyenstrom.com/

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