New life for old photos

Asset Publisher

22 May 2024

Public school life

Students at Comet Bay have been bringing the past back to life, demonstrating their art and technology skills by adding colour to black and white WWI photos.

Five Year 10 students took part in a photo recolouring project developed by Defence School mentor Claire Hunt and Design Photography teacher Petrus “Pierre” Potgieter, as part of the wider school aim of preserving the history and stories of service people.

Teacher Petrus “Pierre” Potgieter (left) and Tiana Johnson (right) with all the artwork and students involved in the recolouring project.

With the help of Mr Portgieter, students sourced WWI photos and used Photoshop to add different layers on top of the originals.  

They then painstaking added colour that reflected the WWI period.  

The Design Photography course teaches students about the art of photography, including post-production and how technology can be used to enhance images.  

Together the five students recoloured 13 photos. 

Student Tiana Johnson said it was a really fun project to be part of. 

“We researched the WWI period, the landscapes and the clothes in the photos and used that knowledge to make the photos look as realistic as possible,” she said. 

“Each photo took us about three hours to complete and many of us did multiple photos. I did three images. It was great that my favourite one was the winner.” 

Tiana excelled in the photo colouring project, demonstrating the best development of recolouring skills and technique.  

Before and after of Tiana's recoloured photo.

“I enjoyed learning more about Photoshop. We had used it before, but this time we got to play with the layers and other modes, and it was really interesting to see how images can be manipulated or enhanced,” she said.

Ms Hunt said the school was delighted with the outstanding work the students produced.  

The recolouring isn’t over as Ms Hunt hopes to expand the project throughout the year and eventually create a giant banner for their 2025 Anzac service.  

“This will create a lasting piece of art that will be a powerful reminder of the sacrifices of our Australian Defence Force service men and women, past and present.”