Home / HistoryColorized Photos Breathe New Life into Famous Faces from Russian History

Colorized Photos Breathe New Life into Famous Faces from Russian History

history of soviet russia

Family of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia.

Translator and amateur colorist Olga Shirnina, also known as Klimbim, has an incredible talent for transforming historical black and white photographs into color images. She often works to breath new life into vintage photographs that show Russian history, from portraits of the imperial Romanov family to women in the Red Army on the front lines of World War II.

Shirnina, like all good photo colorists, takes her craft seriously, spending hours of research to decide the correct coloration. “When I colorize [military] uniforms I have to search for info about the colors or ask experts,” she shares. “So I’m not free in choosing colors. When I colorize a dress on a 1890s photo, I look at what colors were fashionable at that time. When I have no limitations I play with colors looking for the best combination.”

Her focus on Russian history is a look back to her own roots, filling in gaps in order to make history come alive. “I'm interested in the history of Russia, it is full of dramatic, cataclysmic events which impacted on the history of both the country itself and the whole world,” she tells The Daily Mail. “Sometimes a picture can say more than many words and I'll be glad if people learn more about Russia and its people through my colorings.”

Her work humanizes her subjects, pulling them from the pages of a dusty photo album and presenting them as full, living and breathing characters.

Olga Shirnina's beautiful colorized photos of Soviet history bring a wide range of important historical figures to life.

Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History

Lenin.

Olga and Tatiana Romanov colorized photo

Olga and Tatiana Romanov, Grand Duchesses of Russia, 1913.

Nadezhda Krupskaya colorized photo

Nadezhda Krupskaya as a child graduating from gymnasium. Krupskaya was a Bolshevik revolutionary and the wife of Lenin.

Nadezhda Krupskaya as a child
Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History

La Comtesse Elisabeth Cheremetew

La Comtesse Elisabeth Cheremetew
Pavel Miliukov | П. Н. Милюков colorized photo

Pavel Nikolayevich Miliukov. Russian historian and liberal politician. In the Russian Provisional Government, he served as Foreign Minister, working to prevent Russia's exit from the First World War.

Pavel Miliukov | П. Н. Милюков
Alexander Ilich Rodimtsev | Александр Ильич Род Colorized Photos of Russian History

Alexander Ilich Rodimtsev. Colonel-General in the Soviet Red Army during World War II.

Alexander Ilich Rodimtsev | Александр Ильич Род

Great Russian authors, composers, and musicians are also featured in her historically accurate colorizations.

Leo Tolstoy great russian authors

Leo Tolstoy. Russian writer. Author of “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina.”

Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History

Chekhov. Russian playwright and short story writer.

Matilda Kshesinskaya colorized photo

Matilda Kshesinskaya. Ballerina and wife of Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich.

Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History

Igor Sikorsky. Russian-American aviation pioneer.

vera komissarzhevskaya

Vera Komissarzhevskaya. Actress.

Sergei Prokofiev Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History

Sergei Prokofiev. Soviet composer, pianist and conductor.

Sergei Prokofiev
Mikhail Bulgakov colorized photo | Михаил Булгаков

Mikhail Bulgakov. Russian writer, physician and playwright.

Shirnina is fond of working on vintage images of the women who fought in the Red Army during World War II.

Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History

Yulia Yavorska. Nurse who brought 56 wounded from the battlefield in battles for Stalingrad.

Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History
Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History

Evdokia Pasko. Soviet military pilot in World War II.

Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History
Olga Shirnina - Colorized Photos of Russian History

Captain of the medical-sanitary service Bolmisova.

Olga Shirnina: Website | Flickr | Deviant Art
h/t: [Open Culture]

All images via Olga Shirnina.

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