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• Hand-tinting history

Hand-colouring has been used to add colour since the invention of photography. Used primarily to add colour to black and white formal portraits, hand-colouring for this purpose went into a serious decline in the 1950's. This co-incided, not surprisingly, with the emergence of colour photography in the 1950's.

Still, the art form survived to re-emerge in the 1960's. It soon became part of the mainstream advertising and fashion photography of the time when it was rediscovered by a new generation of photographers, primarily in the United States.

The medium makes a serious statement against the use of "cold" computer manipulation. Those in the the computer industry who makes a living doing this will probably differ from this standpoint, and I respect that. There's a market out there for computer manipulated stuff. Hell, I even manipulate the pics on these web pages so that they look the same on screen as in real life!

What hand-colouring offers is not so much the versatility of Photoshop of Paint Shop Pro in terms of the possible effects these programs can produce, but rather the ability to fine-tune colour and effects to a degree that I'm not sure is possible in the digital media.

As such, it is infinitely more satisfying to me to see a picture shape before my eyes. It is probably far more relaxing and less frustrating than working on screen, having to print an image later and only then being able to see whether your work of art is the same that on the screen.

I started being interested in it myself as a journalist on a short-staffed Eastern Cape newspaper. I often found myself capturing news events in the absence of a regular photographer and thus developed an eye for detail, composition and impact and especially a love for the dramatically extreme wide-angle perspective.

Using wide lenses helped tell the full story of the tragedies journalists often witness, as the viewer is "pulled" into the image and thus "shares" the experience of the subjects. This is what I aim for in my images an intense experience of the subject matter, an image so real one wants to reach out and touch it.

I also have an almost macabre preoccupation with the dilapidation and decay of old buildings. People once lived here, I always tell myself. What were their life stories? Why did they pack up and leave, and left this old building to rot? That's what I try to imbue in my shots I try to 'repaint' some atmosphere back into these old homes.

This web site is but a brief example of what can be done with this art form. I welcome any feedback. Simply write to me at jaco@pictureperfect.co.za

The paintings