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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Is it Art or just colouring in?

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Old 08-29-2008, 10:23 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Is it Art or just colouring in?

and that also is well said, gary.

one of the problems with the whole subject of art is that it's not very well defined. so, you get all sorts of 'experts' because all you had to do was add your own definition of what art was and you were suddenly an 'expert'.

well, that's been handled now. there is a definition and a damned good one. just having and knowing that definition has improved my work. you can get this book at it's called simply 'Art' by L. Ron Hubbard. it's the only definition i've ever found that truly gets down to the nitty-gritty of what art is. and, it goes beyond that, breaking down and defining all sorts of art terms and mechanics.
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Old 09-01-2008, 02:28 AM
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sergio2263 sergio2263 is offline
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Smile Re: Is it Art or just colouring in?

Originally Posted by MadAsApples View Post
Hello all, excuse the thread title but I think it explains my predicament quite well. I'll explain but firstly, thank you to RetouchPro for the birthday wishes. If I'm honest I'd forgotten I'd subscribed but it has reminded me why I subscribed and that I had pushed it to the bottom of my To Do List because I'm stuck!

Over a year ago my Mother gave me a photograph and asked if I could "do anything with it". I'm a website designer so I use Photoshop every day but only a fraction of it's capabilities. The photograph is the only one of her that she likes. My sister had it and whilst it was stored in her garage along with a load of other photographs, it had got water damaged. I said I would have a go at restoring it but I think I've hit a bit of a crossroad.

A bit of history about the photograph:
My Mother was born in 1936 and raised in a small mill town in Yorkshire so not a lot going on there as you can imagine but the photographer who took the photograph was clearly ahead of his time as he hand painted this into colour. At my parents Golden Wedding Anniversary party recently they had some 'slides' that you looked at through 'binoculars' similar to the old Disney ones but the photographs were in 3D - it's very odd seeing your Grandparents stood in their parlour in 1955 in 3D. Taken by the same photographer, a Mr Steven Judge of Earby, Yorkshire (Earby is now in Lancashire - you can imagine that upset a few people!).

I took up the challenge of restoring it but after a few hours realised this wasn't just about a bit of cloning, despeckling or basic photoshop stuff. Mum mentioned that the dress she was wearing had a knitted neckline that you can still make out in the original but the water damage is prevalent. At this point, having searched numerous websites and threads about photo restoration techniques, I stumbled upon the RetouchPro website and saw the work of your members. I was blown away.

While I'm posting this thread I'm very mindful of Kraellin's post at so please don't think I'm requesting free work. My dilema is this: -

At what point does the restoration process of photographs stop becoming the ability to use image manipulation tools and techniques and becomes artistic ability? I've seen countless restoration projects on this forum and of course the question for me is "how did they do that?". How much of the work is the knowledge of using Photoshop or Paintshop pro or whatever software tools and how much is pure artistic ability? I seem to find it impossible to see beyond what is in front of me and visualise what it would have looked like. Is this perhaps the key?

I have artistic ability but clearly focussed on my sphere of work. Ask me to draw a picture of anything without a PC and I'm screwed. A "New Age" artist perhaps.

I'd really like to know your thoughts on this. Is it Art or just colouring in? What do you see that I don't? Why can you do it and I can't?

Answers on a postcard please...


p.s. Apart from the fact it's my Mum, I love the porcelain quality and the wallpaper!
Hi Iain,

Welcome to Retouchpro, if you want to learn anything about restoring this is the best place to be, I am still learning and I often when time permit I come to have a browse and pick up some tips and tricks, I can tell you I have picked up many tips, thanks to the very generous restorers on retouchpro. Your mother is a beautiful lady, the photographer who painted her photo, do know his stuff, this is a very good hand colourized job, the best I've seen of that era.

If you are interest in colourizing black and white photos check the links below.

The top link is the one I use for my colourizing, it's a bit tricky but you'll soon get the hang of it, you have artistic ability you should have no problem working with your colours, I don't have any artistic skills at all nor worked with photos until a year ago and I am still learning photoshop lol, but I enjoyed restoring and colouring black and white photos. I've started from scratch and got to this far, please see links below. I still have lots to learn when it comes to colour coordination or matchings, but at the moment I am concentrating on the skin tones. Well just keep practicing and put your trial photo here for critics, that's the best way to learn.

I hope that help


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