He admits he was surprised at the huge role fashion plays in his artistry. Urban recently finished a colorization for a client that involved an old Indian wedding. According to Urban India has a love affair with vibrant colors and intricate details.
He says fashion and color tend to walk hand in hand.
“It’s surprising how much fashion does play into colorizing a photo. Sometimes simply having an idea about different fabrics makes a world of difference,” said Urban a 25-year-old nursing student and Photoshop enthusiast. “Much like clothing, the correct use of subtlety in color can often times go a long way.”
Urban became interested in colorization by simply browsing the Internet. His interest peaked when he saw examples of the art. From there he found tutorials and started discovering how it works.
He admits he was oblivious to how popular the art form was until he posted a Martin Luther King Jr., photo that he designed for MLK day on Reddit, a social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of either a link or text.
Much like a child figuring out the pieces of a puzzle, Urban uses history, instinct and technology to rebirth photography. The artist’s inspiration comes from the culture. He’s drawn to the details. Simply coloring the skin and adding slight blush to someone’s cheeks highlights the person and creates a warm liveliness that was not apparent before.
“I want my colorizations to be as true to the time as possible. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is how much depth it adds to a photo. Black and white tends to feel flat, because everything blends into its surroundings. Adding color causes objects to separate themselves from what’s around them,” he said.
Urban says revealing his photos to the viewer has the “Where’s Waldo” affect.
“There are moments like, ‘Oh, there’s a person in that window!’ or ‘Hey, that man is standing on top of the train,’ he says. “For me, bringing history back to life is just, well, fun.”
At the end of the day Urban says colorization is a sense of fulfillment for him. He simply likes to help people. It amazes him to hear sentimental stories or kind words from grateful strangers all over the globe.
“I love flipping between the original black and white and the final image. I take a lot of pride in paying attention to the little details,” Urban said. “I love helping people. So when I finish a project for someone and they are happy with the results, it means a lot to me. It’s an incredible feeling.”