An artist spent 3,000 hours colorizing vintage black and white photos of celebrities, and the results are stunning

Courtesy of Mario UngerLouis Armstrong and Grace Kelly.

Photography was first invented in 1837, and for decades it was exclusively in black and white. Even though colour film was introduced in the early 1900s, black and white photos were prevalent through the ’60s and ’70s.

Artist Mario Unger spent hours painstakingly converting black and white photos of celebrities into colorized versions. Unger wanted to bridge the gap between the past and today, as black and white photos can feel super dated.

Keep scrolling to see some of Unger’s best work.


Here’s a more subdued portrait of Marilyn Monroe in her heyday than we’re used to.

Monroe remains a significant figure in American pop culture, even today, almost 60 years after her untimely death at age 36. In the past few months, stars like Khloe Kardashian, Bella Hadid, and Cardi B have all been spotted “channeling Marilyn Monroe.”


This still comes from the 1942 classic “Casablanca,” starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Berman.

The movie was also professionally colorized in the ’80s, but viewers hated it so much that it’s now only shown on TV in its original black and white.


Walt Disney’s feline friend does not seem impressed by Mickey Mouse.

Contrary to popular belief, Mickey Mouse was not a solo endeavour for Disney: everyone’s favourite talking mouse was created by Ub Iwerks for Disney. However, Iwerks thought he wasn’t getting enough credit for Mickey, so he left the company for a time. He eventually returned, but refused to work in animation again.

This photo of Disney comes from the Library of Congress, and was donated as part of the Harris & Ewing Collection, along with 400 other photos.


Two legends, Louis Armstrong and Grace Kelly, on the set of the film “High Society.”

Courtesy of Mario UngerLouis Armstrong and Grace Kelly on the set of ‘High Society.’

The two collaborated together in the 1956 film “High Society,” which ended up being Kelly’s last film role due to her royal duties (she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956). Jazz icon Armstrong appeared as himself in the movie alongside his real-life band.


This is Che Guevara, a major figure in the Cuban Revolution during the ’50s.

Guevara was an Argentinian rebel that gained a following through the Cuban Revolution, in which he overthrew the Cuban government alongside the Castro brothers.

He died in 1967 at the age of 39, when he was executed by the Bolivian government.


This is Mark Twain in 1907, three years before his death.

Twain is one of the greatest American novelists of all time, best known of his works “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and its sequel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Unger used a photo of the author from 1907, three years before his death in 1910.

In a twist of fate, Twain was born in 1835 when Halley’s Comet was passing Earth. He predicted a year before his death that he would die when the comet returned in 1910 – and he did. He died of a heart attack the day after Halley’s Comet was at its closest to Earth.


Comedic duo Laurel and Hardy became popular in the 1920s — here’s them 30 years later in 1953.

Laurel and Hardy still have legions of fans around the world. Many of these fans are part of a society called The Sons of the Desert, named after the duo’s 1933 movie, “Sons of the Desert.”

This photo was taken in February 1947, as the two comedians arrived at Southampton, England, to board the Queen Elizabeth, an ocean liner.


This photo of Maud Wagner, the first female tattoo artist in the United States, shows you the before and after of Unger’s colorization process.

Wagner was born in 1877. She performed in circuses as an aerialist before meeting her future husband Gus, who taught her how to tattoo. The two travelled the country in circuses and in vaudeville shows, and today, Wagner is seen as one of the biggest female icons in the tattoo industry.


Here’s Grace Kelly, actress-turned-princess: she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956.

When she met her future husband, Kelly was one of the most famous actresses in the world after appearing in “Dial M for Murder,” “Rear Window,” and “High Society.”

However, when she met Prince Rainier at the Cannes Film Festival, she soon retired from acting to focus on being a royal – sound familiar?


Albert Einstein is one of the most famous scientists in history.

Einstein’s most famous contribution to science, the Theory of Relativity, is one of the pillars of modern physics. He developed it in 1905 when he was just 26 years old. He went on win the Nobel Prize in Physics 16 years later.

This photo was taken in 1946, when Einstein was 67.


Read more:
The 25 best quotes from Albert Einstein


This still comes from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” starring Gregory Peck as one of the most beloved fictional fathers in literature, Atticus Finch.

The movie “To Kill a Mockingbird” is based on the 1960 novel of the same name, written by Harper Lee. The film was released two years later, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time, in no small part due to Peck’s performance as the Finch family patriarch.


This is author Victor Hugo circa 1880. Hugo’s best known for writing “Les Misérables” and “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.”

Hugo is one of the most prolific French authors in history. “Les Misérables” was turned into a highly successful Broadway musical, and a feature-length film starring Hugh Jackman and many other A-listers.

His other well-known work, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” was turned into a Disney animated movie, and is frequently called one of the House of Mouse’s best films.

This photo was taken by photographer Étienne Carjat. In addition to photography, Carjat was also a journalist and caricaturist.


Henry Ford invented the Model-T Ford, revolutionising the auto industry forever.

You can learn more about Ford and his immense impact on the world at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit. TripAdvisor named it the best thing to do in the state of Michigan.

According to the Detroit Free Press, this photo was taken in 1926, when the inventor was 63 years old. That same year, Ford became one of the first companies to adopt the five day, 40- hour work week for its factory workers.


Here, Robert Cummings and Grace Kelly read the script for their 1954 movie “Dial M for Murder.”

“Dial M for Murder,” was directed by legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, and is the lone Hitchcock film to be shot in 3D, before the film industry shelved the technology for a few more decades.

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