The New Black & White

What happens when you colorize historical black-and-white images using artificial intelligence? The result can be seen in the new exhibition "The New Black & White" at the St. Moritz Design Gallery.

Monday, July 17, 2023

For 95 years, the 1928 Olympic champion Sonja Henie's skating costume appeared white in all the original photos. The St. Moritz Documentation Library now embarked on an experiment and colored the costume with the help of a newly developed artificial intelligence (AI) program from the Fotostiftung Graubünden (photo foundation Grisons). The result: the artificial intelligence interpreted the dress in pink. The program is based on so-called deep-learning algorithms that recognize patterns and certain image motifs in black-and-white photos and then colorize them. For example, the figure skater's dress was colored pink because the image's motif appears girlish.

This photo is part of the exhibition "The New Black & White" at the St. Moritz Design Gallery. On display are, amongst others, pictures of horse races on the frozen Lake St. Moritz, bathers at Lake Staz, Charlie Chaplin in the snow, winding car rides on the Bernina Pass or the Via dal Bagn with Switzerland's first electrically powered streetcar. The colored pictures are on display until December 2023 in the St. Moritz Design Gallery in the Serletta parking garage, which is open 24/7 and can be visited free of charge.

Norwegian figure skater and Olympic champion Sonja Henie, 1928
Charlie Chaplin on the shore of Lake St. Moritz, 1926
Horse races on Lake St. Moritz, approx. 1940
The electric streetcar in front of the Engadine Museum in St. Moritz, approx. 1920
Bathing guests at the lido Lej da Staz, approx. 1925
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The legendary Cinema Scala St. Moritz is open again. The TIME Magazine has listed St. Moritz among the 50 World's Greatest Places of 2023. At the new Hotel Grace La Margna modernity meets history and lifestyle meets tradition.The new exhibition at the St. Moritz Design Gallery displays photos from the 1920s, which have been colored using artificial intelligence.