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Photo Restoration, Finding Truth or Creating Illusion?

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  • Doug Nelson
    photo repair (not restoration)
    by Doug Nelson
    I get about an email a month asking for actual physical repair of a photo. I'd no idea there was actually an industry for this until Jim Conway posted.

    So, let's discuss. Who's doing it? How's it done? What educational resources are there out there?
    11-20-2001, 01:20 PM
  • chiquitita
    Retouching / Restoring vs. Recreating
    by chiquitita
    I have noticed a trend on this site where some retouchers/restorers like to recreate missing information in a damaged photo. I thought I would start a thread to hear the members' thoughts on this subject.

    Personally, beyond cloning a few objects, I like to leave the photograph as close...
    06-19-2002, 01:02 PM
  • Tony W
    Physical restoration of Kodachrome
    by Tony W
    I have just discovered dozens of 35mm Kodachromes dating from the mid 60's to early 70's. These had been forgotten about as thought to be lost.

    Unfortunately a few exhibit the problems shown on the attached scan. I intend to restore at least some of the images but before starting out...
    04-15-2010, 01:19 PM
  • thomasgeorge
    Historical Stuff;Necessary or Not
    by thomasgeorge
    How importiant do you think it is for a Restoration artist to be well grounded in historical aspects of photography, clothing styles, general social stuff covering the period of the 1840's thru the 1920's or so? Is a knowledge of such things a necessary "knowledge base" or just a waste of...
    10-29-2001, 10:42 PM
  • KenB
    Simple Question
    by KenB
    I'm curious on oppinions on the following question. Do you think a restored image is ever as good as the original? I'm not talking retouchs here, I mean full blown restorations.

    Ken

    ps I would have posted this as a poll, but Im clueless on how ro go about that.
    01-13-2003, 02:52 PM
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  • Photo Restoration, Finding Truth or Creating Illusion?

    Hi all - I am currently photoshopping an extremely damaged photo from the 1880's for a family. It has been taped back together on the front. It was in at least 3 major pieces, and there is a grime layer on top of water stains and scratches and wax. So as I am working, I am asking myself how much of what I do is about finding the truth which is in the print? And how cloning from here and there to recreate roof lines, and grass, and to reconstruct facial details, changes the historical value of the image? How much of what we do is about creating the illusion of the thing made whole?
    My client understands that this is about reconstructing the major problems. There is a certain level of small cracks and flaws that I can't possibly get to even with 20 hours of work. I am kicking myself fo not trying to wipe it down with film cleaner before scanning. Any thoughts on film cleaning antique prints? Gerry

  • #2
    We have a couple of conservators who are members of RP. Hopefully, one of them will see the thread, and offer suggestions on cleaning and historical value. In the meantime, be aware that there were different processes, and certain types of images are affected by different things. The first thing you need to do is to identify the process, then do a little research before putting any chemical or cleaning solution on the image. There are many things that can be put on antique images, that won't show adverse effects immediately. But they might completely destroy the image in time. So before you do any cleaning, it is my suggestion that you know what you are about to do before you do it. You might want to check out the historical processes threads, which were submitted by Thomasgeorge. I'm not sure if there is any information about cleaning artifacts, but the reading is worth the effort. I think a soft gum eraser can be used carefully to remove some dirt from emulsions, but be very careful.

    Ed

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    • #3
      You ask a good question. I have thought of this before. I have in my own mind a definition of a "picture" and an "image". I believe we have to be careful not have "dishonesty" in an image.

      In dealing with photo restoration for individuals, however, I believe there is great lea way. What you are dealing with is more emotional. Trying to "tie people together" in a spiritual sense. I personally believe that whatever you need to do to achieve that result is O.K. If you were doing some sort of a historical restoration for a museum, then I would think you would have to be far more careful about being historically accurate.

      This may not be making very much sense to anyone, but I understand what I am trying to say.

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