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Turning away Business/Texture restore tips

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  #11  
Old 08-30-2002, 09:03 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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I just had one along those lines, but I didn't really know it. My daughter brought an old photo for me to restore. It belonged to a friend of hers, and I never talked to the owner of the photo until the restoration was done. After finishing the restoration, and while talking to him on the phone, I realized that he thought I would repair the original, which of course, I'm not qualified to do. When he saw the restoration, he was very pleased. But I learned to never do a restoration without talking to the owner first. If I had known what he originally wanted, I would have refused to do the work because I'm not qualified. Even if I were able to make the original look good, I probably wouldn't know the best materials or techniques to use on the job. Using the wrong materials can actually make the image degrade very quickly, and I wouldn't want that to happen. So I guess my suggestion would be to tell her that you value your friendship, and you wouldn't want to jeopardize it by taking on a job you're not qualified for. She shouldn't be offended by that. Let us know how it turns out.

Ed
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2002, 10:11 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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You're right Ed. It's amazing how many people think that you are going to restore the original. That's usually the first thing I point out to potential customers. Then if they still want the original done I tell them to seek out a Conservator.

I recently went to an elderly womans house to check out an album she had of her son's Barmitzvah as a restoration job. Wow, this thing was so bad. It was a solid book with the photos printed on both sides of thick board pages. It reminded me of those Chubby books you get for toddlers. It had been stored away and had gotten wet so the entire center of the book was rotting away. I could've repaired most of it but the work involved was astronomical. When I told her just the 14 worst ones would be about $700 she almost flipped and that was 14 out of about 50 total all needing some work but most needing a major over haul. She told me the album didn't cost more than $40. I tried to explain what I would have to do to clean up that mess but I think the price really scared her. I'm glad in a way. It may have been more than I could chew. I did tell her to see a conservator because the fungus on it would continue to eat away what was left of the album and there may be a way to stop it. To take on that job myself, I couldn't see me doing it for less than $1000. I've never seen anything that bad. I had to wash my hands after touching it.
DJ

Last edited by DJ Dubovsky; 08-30-2002 at 10:23 PM.
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  #13  
Old 08-30-2002, 10:22 PM
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I just tell folks what I CAN do with their photo, and let them decide if they want me to proceed. Not all photos can be restored to the owner's wish, and to be upfront about that is not going to upset anyone or cause you to lose business.

If it's just something you aren't interested in doing, and isn't very hard, why not just do it anyway? Probably won't take that long, and you might end up with referrals from a satisfied customer.

Phyllis
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2002, 11:45 PM
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From this discussion, it sounds like it might be a good idea to seek out a business relationship with a conservator in your area so that you can recommend someone when the situation calls for it. I too am not qualified to work on original photos. But, I would be happy to help a customer find a good conservator to work with. The first time it might take me some time (that I wouldn't charge for), but after that, the relationship would already be made and referrals would be easy. That way, I'll have helped a customer get what they want, so perhaps they'll think of me again in the future for the work that I CAN do.

Jeanie
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  #15  
Old 08-31-2002, 12:07 AM
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I think a lot of people have touched on the two points I want to make.

Communication - Find out what they really want and explain what you really can achieve. Find a solution to the problem together to achieve an end result that is realistic, will make the customer happy and meets their expectations (or altered expectations).

I prefer to meet with the client in person so I can see the piece and talk with them about it for this reason.

Honesty - Tell them what you really can do for the piece and don't be afraid to let them know what you're limitations are and what you are not willing to do (be it for legal, personal or whatever). Make it matter of fact without room for debate...it's just the way it is. Most people will accept your policies if you state them and don't waiver.

Being asked to restore originals when your expertise is digital work is a good time to be honest and say no and why you can't/shouldn't try it. I do both (Master of Art Conservation - Queen's University) and there are still many restorations on original pieces that I'm not willing to do or I know there isn't currently a known/successful or stable treatment for. These jobs are truly something that should be dealt with by an expert. Conservators learn chemistry, material stability and material history as well as have training in treatment techniques and experience dealing with deteriorated and damaged objects. They also can tell the person how to safely store and duplicate a damaged original so it is not further damaged or destroyed. In the wrong hands a valued piece can be destroyed in an attempt to repair it. Do not be afraid to say no.

Just another two cents!

--Heather
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  #16  
Old 09-02-2002, 10:32 AM
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Well, I've recently been challenged with some work that definitely tested the limits of my humble talent.

I was rather apprehensive on working on it considering the damage.

(The photo was a wallet size printed on TEXTURED paper, discolored, Cracking, just a real mess)

I told him I wouldn't do much other than what I COULD do in case technology (or someone substantially more talented than I) would allow it to be completed.

I scanned it hi res, put it on a disc and with any luck, he will have a copy which won't fade any more than it had.


Aside from illegality and questionable opinions you may have on the photo, I think it's our responsibility to treat the photos as public record (official or not) and not to take total liberties with them, so I approved of most of the responses on here.


I MISS YOU GUYS!

Rick
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  #17  
Old 09-02-2002, 11:06 AM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Nice to see you back too Rick and Heather too. We missed you both.

You both made some excellent points and Heather's expertise in the consevator field adds an important viewpoint on the topic.

Heather,
Can't tell you how many times I've wanted to recommend a conservator locally but you and Jim Conway are the only ones I know. May have to find one locally myself as Jeanie suggested to consult with and refere business to.

Rick,
Did you even give it a try after scanning it? You didn't say. I was curious if you used it to practice on and got some positive results toward a sucessful restoration. I do agree with your consevation or recording of the image or documents for future record and preservation. If disaster strikes the original, God forbid, you will always have the digital copy at least.
DJ
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  #18  
Old 09-02-2002, 04:52 PM
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Actually, I didn't realize how difficult it was going to be until after I scanned it. I had done a scan down to 800+DPI, after several attempt to smooth things out, the pictures looked too much like dolls. (The background didn't bother me in the least)

I've even gone to looking for different plugs and techniques to take care of the problem. The most I have been able to do isget rid of the fading, increasing the contrast.

The one with the father, isn't that bad, but the splotches has been driving me into fits, but I think I'm doing okay with that one, but that's going to be a simple enlarge/enhance job.


what do you guys think?


Rick
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  #19  
Old 09-02-2002, 05:03 PM
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I finally had the meeting with that lady I told you about earlier in this thread. I saw the photo and it isn't too bad but I made it clear to her that all I could or would do is make a copy and work on the copy.
She still wanted the original repaired so I refered her to the Museam in Sydney. Her decision was to let me do a copy and restore that and at a later date she would take it to the Museam. I doubt she will actually do that but it's her decision.
I'm relieved as there was no way I would have attempted to repair an original but I seem to have come out of it with the confidence of the customer.I think she appreciated my honesty in telling her I wasn't qualified to work on the original and would not do it.
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  #20  
Old 09-02-2002, 07:08 PM
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Great news Sanda!

--Heather
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