New Colorization Technique Brings First Presidential Photo To Life

He was the first American President ever to be photographed. And now an advanced digital colorization process is providing an even more vivid image of John Quincy Adams, the first President not to be a Founding Father of our nation.

John Quincy Adams is credited with a number of firsts. He was the first President to be the son of a President. His father was the second U.S. President, John Adams. The younger Adams was the first to marry a woman not born in America. In 1843 he became the first ever President to be captured with an exciting new technology – photography.

Adams was 75 when he posed for photographer Philip Haas. The German-born American citizen was using a method of photography known as the daguerreotype, named for French inventor Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre.

The daguerreotype was cumbersome by today’s standards of imaging. It was a complex process that used chemically treated copper sheets plated with silver. Subjects posing for a daguerreotype had to remain motionless for long exposure times. Of course, results were black and white only.

But the image of John Quincy Adams has recently been brought to life with a colorizing method employed by technical artist Marina Amaral. She uses a combination of Photoshop methods supported by “long and in-depth research” she obtains by consulting numerous experts about what the true colors of historic images were likely to include.

Amaral’s colorization of the first photo of a President has delighted fans of American history and scholars alike for the careful and realistic result. It brings to life a true giant of American history in a way that helps portray him as something more than a relic of a distant past – and more like a living human being who was once as alive and vital as any modern person.