Animating old photographs – bringing historic moment to life

I’ve recently been learning how to use After Effects, so I thought I’d experiment with animating old photographs. Adding colour certainly makes an old photo more relatable but with the addition of animation, it will really give a sense of life.

Motion Photo of Whitstable, c1925

Following on from a previous post where I colourised Dad’s favourite family photo I felt inspired to take it a step further. I wanted to see movement and hear the ambience of the waves lapping against the sand and seagulls calling in the distance.

With Father’s Day approaching, it would make the perfect gift to present him with a motion photo of our ancestors on Whitstable beach. By adding subtle movements of the events leading up to the original photo being taken.

A little bit about the photo – c1925 in Whitstable, Kent. The small boy on the right is my Grandad Leslie James Harris, alongside his Brother Ernest, Mother Daisy and Grandmother Mary Ann Pack.

Motion Photo of a Prisoner Mugshot, 1888

Here is another animated old photo from a project for Barnsley Museums where I colourised a series of prisoner mugshots  I was fascinated to see they were required to show their hands and their side profile with the use of a mirror. With the addition of movement and ambient sound effects, this motion photo provides a sensory experience – Really bringing the historic moment to life.

John Cane was a Labourer from Shropshire. He was jailed for sexual offences in 1888 at the age of 26. The old photo of John Cane’s prisoner mugshot was initially restored and colourised.

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