A Restoration

I’m enjoying these restorations. More and more they are convincing me that the part of this process I enjoy the most is the finish work. I love taking something that is damaged and making it look nice again.  And some of these family pictures are so rare that they have such deep value.

This is my wife’s parents. She had an old faded 5×7 that was apparently made from a 2×2 original. It was framed without glass, so it was scratched up prettly badly and had dirt embedded in the emulsion.

Mom and Dad Stebbins

Her hair is a little darker than I would like, but there just wasn’t any detail there. I’d rather have it to dark than washed out. Her neck was tough. The original was pretty bent up there so after being copied, then faded, then scanned it wasn’t pretty. I think its alright now.

It may not look like it but this is a step forward on my restoration process. Up until now I’ve pretty much just cleaned them up, modifed the color balance and added contrast. On this one I replaced some missing elements. They are small (her hair and her chin) but they helped a lot.

What I really love…

I love photography. I love beautiful images.  I love looking at them, making them, surrounding myself with them. I really do.

This journey started when I was a Boy Scout working on my Photography Merit Badge. My counselor took me into his dark room to show me how to develop a picture. To this day I remember that moment, watching that image appear in the developer. It was the single most magical moment of my life. I was hooked. So I started taking pictures, earned a degree in it, worked in studios. My strengh was in the darkroom which was good, because my bosses liked to shoot. Then I quit. I didn’t like it anymore. Something was missing.

Then digital came along and I started playing again. I missed the dark room, but I was amazed with what I could do in Photoshop. So I started almost all over again. I’ve been shooting a lot, but I’ve been spending most of my time in Lightroom and Photoshop. I love what I can do to an image, how I can make it better, stronger, more interesting. So I’ve been trying to figure out how to get back into the game. To do something I really enjoy and get paid for it. To be able to spend the time at it to get really good.

It finally hit me a couple of weeks ago. It only took me 35 years. I shoot as a means to another end. What I really enjoy, what I’ve always enjoyed is the post work. The darkroom and now Photoshop. I’m a sloppy shooter, I’m technically tight in post work. I’ve always shot as an input to the post. So I going to concentrate my efforts there. I’m exploring if I can build a business doing post work. I’m liking this concept.

In the mean time, here are a couple of images I’ve restored recently. The first one is my wife as a baby. I was able to clean up the damage of a lot of years of neglect and abuse. She was very excited. 

I posted my wife’s baby picture on my Facebook account to show it off. My uncle saw it and asked if I could do something with a picture he had. It’s a picture of my cousin when she was much younger. It was pretty faded and he can’t find the negative.

First I just popped what was there. 

Then I did some handcoloring to give her skin/hair and the fence some color. 

They both turned out really nice – and I enjoyed the process. Now, how to get people to pay me for this…