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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

What would you do

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  #1  
Old 10-05-2003, 09:46 PM
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winwintoo winwintoo is offline
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What would you do

I'm working on this old wedding picture for a friend and I wonder what others would do in this situation.

In the attached image, you can see some damage to the chair leg. That damage is on the chair itself and not on the picture. Also the canvas floor cloth the coupleis sitting/standing on is rumpled and the bride's silk stockings are wrinkled around her ankles.

I could "fix" all these things, but should I?

I prefer to keep the image as much original as possible because I think the damage on the chair leg and the rumpled floor cloth tell part of the story. Also, anyone whose ever seen those old stockings knows how impossible it was to keep them straight.

What would you do??

Margaret
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  #2  
Old 10-05-2003, 10:43 PM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Margaret,

I'd talk to my friend and show him/her what is possible, and then ask what they would prefer -- perhap they'll want one of each.
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Old 10-05-2003, 10:48 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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If the photo was taken yesterday you'd probably have little hesitation about fixing the chairleg or the stocking. I see no reason to let the age of the image stop you. But ultimately, I'd ask your friend.

I know this one is for a friend, but if this was for a client I'd also have to consider the time involved and the estimated cost given.
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Old 10-06-2003, 08:38 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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I always ask first.
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Old 10-06-2003, 10:53 AM
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winwintoo winwintoo is offline
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Hmmmm, I think I worded that wrong. I will ask my friend but I wanted to know what your own thoughts are on "changing history" by altering elements of the photo.

When I look at old photos, I'm as interested in the weathered barn door that Grandpa is standing in front of, the brown tobacco stains on his fingers, the fly-away hair on Grandma's head and the way Uncle Fred's pants always hung crooked even with suspendors.

I worked on a candid photo of my son's friends taken at their wedding. The couple liked the candid shot better than the studio ones and wanted me to turn it into a "studio" look. The background etc. was no problem, but the bride's face looked awful - all wrinkled, she looked 50 instead of 25 (I have not met the bride in person) I smoothed out the wrinkles and made her look radiant.

When my son saw the finished product, he was shocked!! Apparently, those wrinkles were natural and removing them would insult her. Fortunately, I had saved a copy just before I started on the wrinkles.

I could take the one photo that exists of Aunt Mary and Uncle Pete and pose them closer together (they are several feet apart and she is leaning away from him) and I could remove the old stove and pile of wood from behind them, but in life, they NEVER got closer than arms length (at least in public ) and that old stove and wood pile says a lot about the simple way they lived - I think it would be wrong to change that.

Margaret
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Old 10-06-2003, 11:08 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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I will do whatever the customer wants. The idea of "changing history" doesn't even enter my mind. It's not like I'm working for Time magazine or anything.....that would be a whole different story.
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Old 10-06-2003, 12:29 PM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Margaret,

If you were my client -- I wouldn't change the wrinkles in the stockings, the chair leg damage, etc.

When I look at the old photos of my ancestors, I am interested in those "true" details surrounding them -- although in most cases, they're sitting in a photographer's set. Personally, however, I also want to have a better image of them. I tend to fix things in my own family's photos -- then I have the original to enjoy as well as an "improved" version.

If there is true history involved -- family or regional or even further, then saving the details of the original as they were is vital. But I have no argument against enhancing a copy also.
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  #8  
Old 10-07-2003, 11:25 AM
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ajcutler ajcutler is offline
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Margaret,

I think that you should always ask the Client first what they would like. Having said that, I find that sometimes they are not really sure, so you can tell or show them what is/may be possible, and even recommend an approach if they are not comfortable doing so.

I do lean towards preserving as much of old photos as possible, because I think it adds to the character of the photo, but of course there are circumstances (like severity of damage) that have to be weighed.

Alan
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Old 10-10-2003, 09:42 PM
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Noko Noko is offline
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I agree with everybody here in that its up to customer. I also agree with you in that when I do a Restoration I only fix what has been damaged by time. Well most of the time. In this example I made many changes because it was taken by a bad photographer and the customer agreed with me wedding

When in doubt ask the client.
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  #10  
Old 10-11-2003, 06:23 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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Very nice job, Noko. Much needed improvement.

The key word in all this is "ask".

I've noticed on the challanges, that many people take the liberty of changing backgrounds, colors, etc., even though the directions specifically say, "do not change anything". Although these are not for actual customers, it's a very important part of the restoration process. I don't recall if any books on restoration cover this topic.

Talk about changing history......
I had a female customer ask me to do something similar. Her wedding photos had been taken in the 70's, and in a very unattractive background. She wanted it to look as if they were taken in a studio, with a studio background. I did the enhancements, and she was thrilled. About a year later, I ran in to her at a picnic. She told me, jokingly, that her and her husband had since split up, and that perhaps having the pictures changed had been an omen.
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