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History, Conservation, and Repair The history of photographic prints, and how best to care for and repair them.

Dating photographs

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  #1  
Old 03-16-2008, 11:13 AM
zganie zganie is offline
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Dating photographs

I find it interesting that a lot of people are not to concerned with the date or type of photograph they are restoring.With out these knowledge how can you restore the tho photo properly.As mentioned By member ABENORMAL,in another thread I started theres a lot more than just using photoshop.
What are your thoughts
zganie
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:19 AM
zganie zganie is offline
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Re: Dating photographs

No one has any thoughts on this Hmm.... interesting
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:49 AM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: Dating photographs

I read your post before and was confused by it, maybe others where also. Perhaps we are assigning different meanings to the terms.

To me "restore" means fixing damage (tears, creases, stains, etc) and all that work is done on a copy of the original. We never touch the original other than to make that copy.

So if I am removing a stain, so that that part of the image looks like the area around it, why do I really care when the image was made?
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:35 AM
zganie zganie is offline
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Re: Dating photographs

To restore something is to bring it back to its original state even if you copy it and then work on it.True you fix the scratches ,tears etc,but what about after when you print it.Most of these old photos were not that sharp like people tend to do when "restoring"them also what about original tones the Dmin,Dmax of the original what about the paper most were not printed on glossy paper To me the Copy should resemble the original at least somewhat if not exact
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Old 03-19-2008, 04:55 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: Dating photographs

I think it is going to depend on the Hierarchy of the restore.. Museum quality or for your beer buddy down the street.
In the end it is up to the client/individual and what they are willing to pay for or want and what you are willing to give them for whatever they pay. In any event the person receiving your services should be presented with all the different choices available. Not everyone cares if it is on acid free paper or antique looking paper like the original (using that reasoning a tintype after restoration should be a tintype or a celluloid should be on celluloid). Again it depends on the Hierarchy of the restoration.. Some people use the term restore when they actually mean copy it and clean it up.. for a museum you are absolutely right.. keep it as original as possible.. for throwing into an album for the grandkids, the best quality you can sell to the customer will have to do and will depend on your salesmanship and power to convince them of your own preferences.

In the end it all comes down to $$$, personal preferences, who you are doing the restore for and if you or they are a purist or not.

Just my thoughts
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:49 PM
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lurch lurch is offline
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Re: Dating photographs

After thinking on this subject for a few days . . .
If you're going to restore a photograph that means restoring the photograph. That means (to me) making an image that looks like the photograph looked when it was taken. Can't come anywhere near close without some idea of what the original looked like, and what it looked like depends on when and how it was taken. Admittedly we don't always know that, and have to make some guesses based on a little research.
Quote:
. . .why do I really care when the image was made?
You might care when -

The image is indistinct and you can't tell if the legs on the little girl are pants or sloppy socks and noise. There were some time frames when little girls did not wear pants - ever.

Is that noise on the wall or a pattern? At some times wallpaper was fashionable, others it wasn't.

You have a faded color image and you know a key part was green - but what shade? Remember the 1970's?

If (unlike me) you do it for money, don't call it a restoration unless you're willing to do and charge for as much as you need to do to come as close as you can to a real restoration. Otherwise call it a cleanup, or something.
<C>
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Old 03-20-2008, 09:51 AM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: Dating photographs

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurch View Post
After thinking on this subject for a few days . . .
If you're going to restore a photograph that means restoring the photograph. That means (to me) making an image that looks like the photograph looked when it was taken. Can't come anywhere near close without some idea of what the original looked like, and what it looked like depends on when and how it was taken. Admittedly we don't always know that, and have to make some guesses based on a little research.

You might care when -

The image is indistinct and you can't tell if the legs on the little girl are pants or sloppy socks and noise. There were some time frames when little girls did not wear pants - ever.

Is that noise on the wall or a pattern? At some times wallpaper was fashionable, others it wasn't.

You have a faded color image and you know a key part was green - but what shade? Remember the 1970's?

<C>
I do not think that one can ever really have an idea of what the photograph looked like when it was made. Zganie mentioned D-min and D-max, perhaps the faded print in your hands is a test print, the "good" print did not survive? If you cannot tell if the girl is wearing pants or not, are you then restoring or re-constructing? I do remember the 1970"s and I also remember that the color of an object will change depending on the amount and color of the light falling on it while the photograph is being made.

So if you do the research and all, does that mean that you have made a copy of the original that looks like it did when it was made or have you really turned out a product that is your best guess of what it looked like and should not be construed to be anything more than that?
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Old 03-20-2008, 10:02 AM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: Dating photographs

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0lBaldy View Post
In the end it all comes down to $$$, personal preferences, who you are doing the restore for and if you or they are a purist or not.

Just my thoughts
So true when dealing with the public!

Customer brought in a print that some kid had "colored". Crayon sets up so well after 20 years or so in a hot and cold attic. Upon hearing the quote for doing the job, she ended up just doing the faces of the subjects and leaving the rest of the photo in "color" and general grunge.

The result looked terrible to me, she was very happy as she could now see the faces of her long gone relatives and in fact she sent me quite a number of new customers who thankfully never requested just the faces!
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Old 03-20-2008, 11:00 AM
zganie zganie is offline
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Re: Dating photographs

Exactly "COME AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN" no one expects you to pull a rabbit out of your hat

Again as was mentioned not everyone expects or is willing to pay for "MUSEUM QUALITY" but also stated "GIVING THEM ALL THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE" is important
family photographs never have or almost never have "TEST PRINTS" and when you have some knowledge about older photography you do have an understanding what the photo should or probably did look like
These old family cameras were slow and the shutter releases very clunky so the chances of the picture being sharp is probably zero,add to that the photo finishing was rather poor to say the least you did not have true blacks and thats a fact, more like muddy grays .So this gets you into the ballpark
Now we all know how tortured some of these photos can be and if pieces are missing you can only do your best.Cost wise for printing and adjusting for original tones is really not that much more and you end up with a closer original
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2008, 11:15 AM
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lurch lurch is offline
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Re: Dating photographs

Mike,
I think we're all saying that a 'restoration' is really just our best guess at what the original image looked like - but I claim we ought to do the research to get as close as we can. Sometimes we can get closer than others. And, when dealing with clients, sometimes we can 'sell' a real restoration and sometimes just a partial. And if folks want a reconstruction, that's their call. One would hope that the reconstruction would be true to history. I'd call putting pants on the little girl a time-bending fashion retouch!
<C>
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