The Distant B&W Past

Growing up, the past seemed so far away. There were black and white images of this period before, especially images from the Second World War. The past seemed so distant in my mind. Due to the lack of colour, it appeared awful. I was glad that I didn’t live during that period. But most of all it was distant as if there was a distinct line dividing my experience and maybe a generation before and then all of human history.

I’ve been surprised that recently I’ve seen videos and photos that have been recoloured digitally or with AI. I’ve been surprised how similar the people look, how wonderful it was. Footage of Berlin or Vienna looked simply glorious. The countryside was full of flowers, of course.

But even thoughts, ideas and concepts from this period, due to the black and white period felt so old and distant.

I was reading some works by Heinrich Zimmer, a contemporary of Jung. The book was written in 1946. That was so long ago I thought. I then realised that the time between the book being written and me being born, was actually about the same as me being born and me being here now (which didn’t feel like a very long time). It made me almost jump to realise how recent it was.

Would the past have felt closer if the pictures had been colour from the start? Would it have felt closer without the Second World War?

What about my daughter when she sees pictures of my early life. Will it seem still and slightly blurred compared to the vivid, glossy and rapidly moving media of today?