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Reading faint text

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  • Reading faint text

    Hello all, I have viewed this site for quite some time with my projects and have just recently decided to join. Could I get some recommendations on how to read the text on the attached image? It is on the back of a photograph with unknown people on it, but I was able to make out several words on another section. Would I be able to use Photoshop to read this? I have played around extensively with Photoshop lately.

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Reading faint text


    I've been unable to decipher anything from the image. This is my best attempt. Maybe you can (knowing the context). I couldn't figure out how to post an image so I posted a link instead.

    The steps I took in Photoshop were:
    1. Add a B&W filter
    2. Add a Levels filter and adjust it to the real black and white values
    3. Add a Curves filter (contrast) to increase the difference between black/grey (handwriting) and white (no handwriting).

    For this kind of query, I recommend you join It's a genealogy forum with sub-forums for both photo restoration and handwriting recognition. I'm a member and I'm sure you'll find people who are as interested in old documents/photos as you are.

    Last edited by mikemorrell; 09-15-2017, 12:12 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Reading faint text

      Hi lithicacid326
      I think I made some decent progress on the words in your image. Here is my attempt. I could read several of the words. Knowing the context usually helps decipher the words.

      Note - It would be much easier to a better result with a higher resolution image in TIFF 16 bit format and not compressed JPEG. I could give it a better try if you have a better starting image file and share it on an image sharing site (as this site limits the image to 100k unless a member). Just a suggestion

      Hope that helps.

      John Wheeler
      Attached Files


      • #4
        Re: Reading faint text

        Hello and thank you all so much for working on my photo. I am so appreciative and amazed at what you were able to do to it! I have a 2.5 mb scan of the back of the photo and yes the file size limit on this website made it difficult!

        Here is the full scan:

        Thanks again for your assistance in this project. I tried to replicate what you (John Wheeler) did and was able to make more progress that I had in the past, but I cannot reveal the crossed out words as well as you could. One of the few words that I could make out was Muhlenberg KY. I believe that some of the names are Fogarty . Some distant relatives of mine from KY were Fogartys.


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