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Welcome to the American Photo photo blog. We colorize black & white photos for museums, educators, media . . . and families like yours.

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The year is 1880. Red Cloud was a great chief of the Oglala Lakota aka the Oglala Sioux. The tribe was located primarily in Dakota Territory, but could be found as far west as Wyoming. And that is where this photo of Red Cloud was taken in 1880 – at Fort Laramie, during reservation life.

The question often arises, “How do you pick your colors?”. Those who look at photo colorizing as “child’s play”, assume we just pull colors out of thin air. At American Photo Colorizing – nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, in colorizing this photo of Chief Red Cloud, two hours of research went into determining where the photo was taken, and what colors were correct for a Lakota chief. In conducting this research, I went straight to the head sources – including the website of the Oglala Sioux Nation (yes, Native Americans are techies, too) – and located several 1870s-era Oglaga Lakota men’s shirts, from which I matched colors for Red Cloud. This is pretty much how we determine color detail here at American Photo

1880 - Red Cloud, Oglala Tribe (Fort Laramie, WY)

1880 - Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota Tribe

In 2009, we were commissioned by the Native American awareness organization, “Redbirds Vision” aka “Redbird” to create a promotional video for their annual powwow in Southern California. Redbird is involved in educational efforts, environmental preservation work, genealogy research, and issues that affect the Native American community. Here is the video we created.


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