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Dating Historical Color Pictures

Dating Historical Color Images



We introduce the task of automatically estimating the age of historical color photographs. We suggest features which attempt to capture temporally discriminative information based on the evolution of color imaging processes over time and evaluate the spectacle of both these novel features and existing features commonly utilized in other problem domains on a novel historical pic data set. For the challenging classification task of sorting historical color pics into the decade during which they were photographed, we demonstrate significantly greater accuracy than that shown by untrained humans on the same data set. Additionally, we apply the concept of data-driven camera response function estimation to historical color imagery, demonstrating its relevance to both the age estimation task and the popular application of imitating the appearance of vintage color photography.


Palermo, F., Hays, J., Efros, A.A.: Dating Historical Color Photos. In: Fitzgibbon, A., Lazebnik, S., Sato, Y., Schmid, C. (eds.) ECCV 2012, Part VI. LNCS, vol. 7577, pp. 499-512. Springer, Heidelberg (2012) [Demonstrate BibTeX]

The software developed during the course of this research is presently being ready for release to the public. During this time, the link below will always point to the most current version of all source code which has been made publically available. Please check back periodically for updates.

  • Historical Color Pic Database (TAR, 212MB)
  • Technicolor®, Process Four Database (TAR, 254MB)

Technicolor®, is a registered trademark. Technicolor SA is neither affiliated with nor has endorsed this research.


This research is supported by:

  • Google
  • NSF CAREER Award 1149853 to James Hays

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