A photographer from Limerick hopes his old colourized picture book will breathe new life into some of Ireland’s most historic moments captured by the camera.
Rob Cross, who is also an architect, has been coloring years old black and white images for years, transforming the photos with advanced computer technology.
His work won him wide acclaim, and some of his colorized images of major events surrounding the War of Independence and Civil War have gone viral..
Among his most evocative works is the hauntingly colorful image of a heartbroken Seán Collins, kneeling near the coffin of his brother, General Michael Collins, after being shot and killed in the Béal na mBláth ambush in West Cork.
Rob’s new book, The Color of Ireland – County by County 1850-1950, will be released by BWP on October 14.
It contains 150 fully restored and colorized images. The book will also feature a preface by historians Diarmaid Ferriter and Donal Fallon.
“It started as a hobby because I have a great passion for Irish history, especially the preservation of architectural heritage and culture,” said Rob.
“But it became a viral hit with a global audience thanks to Twitter, which attracts people from all walks of life.. “
Rob is originally from Limerick but started his award-winning architectural firm in Dublin after graduating from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
Covering all 32 counties, The color of Ireland includes photos that bring the people and places of Irish history to life in vibrant details and colors.
The book uses contemporary photos as the basis for digital color renderings.
Although there are scenes of towns, cities and countryside, it is the Irish who are the real stars of the book.
It features notable women including Muriel MacSwiney, Peig Sayers and Constance Markievicz, as well as minority groups including Irish travelers and people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
The book also captures images of Ireland’s most turbulent times of the War of Independence and the Irish Civil War.
It comprises titans of Irish political life such as Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith and James Connolly.
To offer a balanced view, the prefaces deal with arguments for and against the colorization of old photos. The book includes the original black and white images alongside the restored and colored modern versions.
“It has been an incredibly rewarding journey bringing these photographs into the 21st century, sharing my passion for Irish history and using careful historical research to determine the colors of every object in every photo,” said Rob .
“I can’t wait to share this book with the world. “