I recently learned how to colourize photographs using software developed by
Jason Antic and Dana Kelley. It amazed me how it was able to bring some of my old black and white photos to life. I couldn’t wait to share the results with you.
The software isn’t perfect. It seems to think that everybody’s eyes are brown and every uniform is blue. Sometimes it leaves patches of grey on people’s faces or clothes, or does other weird stuff, when it doesn’t know what else to do.
That said, when it works, it’s marvellous.
Most of these photos have already been shared on this site in their original black and white. I’ll show you some of my favourites here and add more in subsequent posts. Within each grouping, the photos are – as best I can tell – in chronological order.
Click on any of the photos below to enlarge it.
So, here goes …
First Generation: Joe and Lizzie
Lizzie (Helen Elizabeth Leslie), before she became Mrs. Price. She appears to be eighteen or twenty, which would mean the photo is from the very early 1880s. She and Joe were married in Belleville in 1884, when she was twenty-two.
Lizzie again, this time with her instrument. She went by “Mrs. Helen Price” when she performed. The photo was probably taken in the mid-1890s when her career as a concert cornetist reached its peak, with several performances at Massey Hall. She was in her mid-thirties.
Joe and Lizzie in the summer of 1903 or 1904, on Kew Beach at the foot of Lee Avenue in what was then the town of East Toronto. Joe is in the white shirt. Lizzie is looking down. They were in their early forties. The older woman is probably Flora Campbell Leslie, Lizzie’s mother. I haven’t been able to identify the other people.
Joe and Lizzie in the back seat of their 1911 Russell motor car. Son Leslie is in the back with them while other son Earl and his bride Hazel are in the front. This was probably taken between 1912 and 1915, when Joe and Lizzie were in their early fifties.
Joe Price about 1917 with daughter Helen, son Leslie, and grandchildren (Leslie’s children), Isabel (Blanche Isabel Price) and Ted (Joseph Leslie Edmond Price).
Joe Price, probably in the mid-1920s when he would have been in his mid-sixties. Disclaimer: according to a border-crossing document from 1916, his eyes were in fact blue, not brown.
Second Generation: Pearl, Leslie, Earl, Helen, and Frances
Helen Price with her pet chicken, probably at Easter time in 1899 when she would be just over a year old. The photo is taken in front of the house in Buffalo, New York where the family was living. This little girl is the same Helen who appears in her wedding gown at the top of this post.
Pearl (Flora Pearl Price), the eldest child, probably around 1905 when she would have been about twenty. It seems she had some incredibly stylish big hats.
Pearl again, maybe a few years older(?). This may have been taken around the time of her marriage to Alex Lowden in 1906, when she was twenty-one.
Left to right: Frances Price, her uncle, Earl, her grandmother, Lizzie (wearing a veil), and her sister, Helen (in her school uniform). They are at Ontario Ladies College in Whitby, Ontario, where Helen was a boarding student. My guess it was about 1914, when Helen was sixteen and Frances was twelve.
The two youngest, Frances (Frances Kathleen Buchanan Price) and Helen (Helen Fredrica Price), probably in the early 1920s when Helen would have been in her early twenties and Frances would have been in her late teens. Helen is my grandmother.
Sisters Pearl and Helen Price in the mid-1940s, I’m guessing, on a downtown Toronto street. Pearl would be about sixty and Helen in her late forties. Pearl’s husband, Alex Lowden, walks behind them.
Third Generation: Some of Joe and Lizzie’s Grandchildren
Isabel (Blanche Isabel Price), daughter of Leslie and Hazel Price, in a commencement photo that was published in the Toronto Globe in 1930. She was eighteen. You can see the original black and white photo, in the Toronto City Archives, by clicking on this photo.
Betty (Helen Elizabeth Warner), daughter of Helen Price and Harley Warner, in a class photo at the Williamson Road School in the early 1930s. She’s in the back row, third child from the right, next to the identical twins. This is one of those cases where the colourization software didn’t work perfectly. If you look closely, you’ll see grey patches on some of the faces.
Peggy (Margaret Aileen Price), daughter of Earl and Hazel Price, in the mid-1930s.
Joe (Joseph Price Warner), son of Helen Price, on the beach in the early 1940s with his girlfriend, Lorraine Parker (who would eventually become his wife and my mother).
Betty Warner in the early 1950s. You saw her in the class photo above but now she’s grown up and become a fashion model. I’m not kidding.