Klimbim is giving color to the gray past

Here we go again. One of my favorite topics: Traveling through time. With photographs. This time I want to introduce you to an artist whose work I’ve been admiring for quite some time: Olga Shirnina.

With a technique which the Moscow-born artist claims to have learnt all by herself online she turns antique black and white photographs into fascinating color images and thus takes you along on her trip into the past. Into Russia’s past, in particular. As a child I was already a great fan of the Czarist history, probably because of the myth surrounding Anastasia, the Czar’s daughter, and so I was flabbergasted at first sight. Although the artist uses state-of-the-art techniques, she emphasizes that the basics in color theory such as knowledge about color harmony, contrasts and the effect of colors are highly essential for succeeding in her work.

Although she’s independent when it comes to coloring the pictures, as she can virtually use any color she likes in a photo, she often researches historical facts and occasionally even asks experts for advice. Not always but quite often she thinks it’s important to color momentary shots the way they actually were. According to the artist, photos showing uniforms are a particularly hard job. For such pictures there are many expert and self-acclaimed online experts who want to prove her wrong every now and then.


By now Shirnina has become quite popular and receives countless requests from museums and from individuals as well. She keeps emphasizing that she doesn’t claim the copyright for her colored images and that everybody is free to download them as long as they don’t use them for profit.

Have you heard about Olga Shirnina yet? What do you think of her work? I admire her for her detailed work and I can hardly imagine the precision she needs for it. In my opinion the results are stunning.

On her WordPress blog you can take a look at many more of her images.




  1. They’re pretty amazing. Have you seen the ones by Sanna Dullaway? Hers are also good – though both use public domain images and so there’s little to no restoration required which is what takes most of the time (you’ve seen mine, I presume? It’s what my blog and site are for!) We all have different ways of doing these via Photoshop or a version of it. I prefer to colour family photos: my own and other people’s.


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