My name is Per Ivar Somby, I repair and colourise old photographs.

When I colourise pictures, I want to know as much as possible of the story behind the picture. I do research to find colours and tones that I believe it must have looked like.

I also get information about traditional clothings from people with knowledge. Otherwise, sources in public documents, books and the National Archives are important. The images I work with are so old that the copyright as a rule has expired, and can thus be used freely.

The colourised images are in my copyright and may not be shared, copied or used commercially without consent. But the photos I publish on social media can be shared within the sharing rules that apply there. But even there it is good practice to credit the origin and owner.

Per Ivar with a photo of his ancestor


previous assignments

Tromholt exhibitions, 2017-2018: Exhibit of selected images from Sophus Tromholt’s image archive, owned by The Special Collections at The University Library of Bergen.

Helsingborg Concert Hall, 2020: The exhibition “As if they are looking at me”. A collection of 20 photos from different parts of Sápmi in Norway and Sweden, exhibited from 6 February 2020.



The research vessel FF Kronprins Haakon,(2018): Nansen’s Greenland Expedition: Colourised picture of Nansen and his expedition participants cross Greenland in 1889. Placed in the captain’s lounge.



Langfjord Days, July 2018: Twelve Sami portraits from various photographers.



Kokelv Sea Sámi Museum, 2019: Eight Sámi portraits




Finnmark Rein, 2019: 16 photos by Sophus Tromholt. Exhibited at 8 seasons Hotel in Varangerbotn.



Troms and Finnmark County Municipality, Kvaløya Upper Secondary School, 2020: Eight colourised pictures with a Sami motif.



Bardu Municipality, 2019: Colourised photo of Sami and soldiers in Bardu, photographed by Johanna Aarstrand in 1907.




Varanger Museum, 2018: Colourised photos delivered in book publishing: “Ei sole sorrakieli. Kven / Norwegian-Finnish oral tradition in Varanger Kvääniitten / norjansuomalaisten suulinen perine Varenkissa”. red, reidar Bakke, Trygg Jakola, Kaisa Mainiemi.