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  • Well, I guess it's dead

    I asked on the usenet airbrush group if anyone still used airbrush work to restore photos and received an apathetic "Photoshop killed it, go away"

    But I know there's still hand-colorers out there, and what about the darkroom montage and double-exposure artists?

    And traditional copy work?

    Surely they can't have all vanished...
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning

  • #2
    Doug,

    I don't think they're *all* gone, but there is probably not enough people who are still interested in that type of work to warrant keeping the category open. There are times I wish I still had my darkroom, but with all the hassle, it will probably never happen for me again. In fact, I just found a condenser lens for an enlarger in the basement yesterday. It went into the box of things to be given away (one of my sons has the enlarger, but he never set it up). (Yeah, I cried)

    Ed

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    • #3
      It's kind of the same story of the hand crafters who made fine furnishings until mass production stole their business. They still exist but they can't compete with the prices or demand. Now their only selling point is thier quality and fine workmanship and the fact that you have an original when their done.

      It's a shame really. True photo restoration is a true art and talent. It takes great skill to do what they do. I know people who have come to me after having other originals done once and found it far too expensive. I would love to see someone at work restoring an original as bad as some of the ones we get. I bet that's impressive

      Guess on this forum we attract mostly digital restorers. Unless someone does both, there probably isn't a common interest for them here.

      DJ

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      • #4
        I agree. And as time goes on, there will be less and less of them.

        Ed

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        • #5
          The local photographer used to do alot of her own darkroom work and hand tinting but since Photoshop came to her attention, the dark room is used no more and the tinting stuff resides in a box shoved in a corner. I never had a lot of experience with the traditional photo methods but it is sad to think that those skills are in danger of extinction--sort of like the Blacksmith I guess. The same work gets done only by greatly altered means. Tom

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          • #6
            Not dead yet

            Hi Doug,

            There are still some of us out here. I am both a traditional and digital artist.
            Although I haven't used my airbrush in some time (always hated it anyway!) I still do lots of other work by hand. I make b & w and sepia prints up to 20 x 24. Hand color, tint, glaze and full brush oil.
            As a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America) I have seen educational opportunities for the traditional skills fade to zero.
            No doubt there will be continued calls for our work - after all photography didn't put and end to portrait painters - our work will just become more valuable.

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            • #7
              Christine
              I would love to see some examples of your "traditional" photo restoration and insite to what all is involved in that kind of restoration. I am very curious about how they do that work. I do some airbrushing but not that fine detail that would be necessary for the traditional restoration. It is a shame to see the demand for this type of skill diminishing because of digital technology. Love to hear more from you.
              DJ

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              • #8
                Hi Chris,

                Welcome to our little corner of the world. Do you do both traditional and digital restorations? I'm curious about what your customers really want. Probably depends on what type of customer you have, right? My guess would be that museums, and people with private collections would tend to go with the traditional method, while Mom & Pop probably would be happy with digital. Am I warm?

                Ed

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                • #9
                  Time marches on! We haven't done a copy neg in over a year, since we bought a Fuji Pictrostat. Much faster and cheaper plus more versital. Not many people need the neg.

                  Traditional retouching is truly an art. But it is also low paying which makes it hard to find people willing to learn to do it. Digital can take a person with no talent like myself and the results can be as good or better the a skilled artist. Many things we do with PS could never have been done in a darkroom.

                  While I still love my old darkroom about the only time it is used is for some old size negs that the photo labs never heard of.

                  I would like to see a couple challenges done traditional and digital. That would be cool.

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                  • #10
                    Well, I guess it's dead

                    Since everyone here seems to be agreeing that traditional work is a thing of the past, it has opened up an unbelievably profitable field for a few of us.

                    Price is no obstacle for someone who wants an original touched up or restored. You can't recreate a tintype on metal with photoshop and no insurance company in the world will pay you for recreating an image on your inkjets just because there was a small scratch on the original print from a mishap in shipping.

                    Consider that at age 72 I have a six month work backlog and a very high five figure net income working on an average of less than 30 "traditional" orders a month.

                    I guess opportunity is where you find it and I'm finding lots of it with the idea that one set of tools here has not (and will never) supplant the others. They have merely enhanced each other and increased the size needed for the toolbox.

                    Jim Conway
                    Timemark Photo Conservators
                    http://www.timemark.com
                    Last edited by Jim Conway; 11-20-2001, 01:22 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Well, doggies!!! I guess it's not dead - just playin' possum!

                      "You can't recreate a tintype on metal with photoshop..."

                      So, in this case, do you produce a new print on metal and repair the copy, or do you actually repair the original?

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                      • #12
                        Finally someone who really knows about the traditional method of restoration

                        Jim,
                        Welcome aboard and I am thrilled to know that the original form of restoration is still surviving somewhere out there. It's a shame when progress takes away from true artistry and craftsmanship.
                        Now that you are here, you can fill us in on what is involved in restoring original photos. What are the limitations? I am curious as to how you go about it. For instance, cracks or rips and severly faded photos and more and what tools to you use. I'm factinated and would love to hear more about it.
                        DJ

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CJ Swartz
                          Well, doggies!!! I guess it's not dead - just playin' possum!

                          "You can't recreate a tintype on metal with photoshop..."

                          So, in this case, do you produce a new print on metal and repair the copy, or do you actually repair the original?
                          Whatever the customer wants ... restoring an original can be as simple as a bit of spotting or a new coating ... for example replacing the backing in the case on an Ambro is a two minute task that often makes it "come alive" again. Lots of things that can be done as soon as you start looking at the possibilites. Tell a customer you CAN make a tintype if that's what they want and you'll soon find that they will gain a whole new respect for your business even if they end up ordering a plain RC print.

                          Jim Conway
                          Timemark Photo Conservators

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Finally someone who really knows about the traditional method of restoration

                            Originally posted by DJ Dubovsky
                            Jim,
                            Welcome aboard and I am thrilled to know that the original form of restoration is still surviving somewhere out there. It's a shame when progress takes away from true artistry and craftsmanship.
                            Now that you are here, you can fill us in on what is involved in restoring original photos. What are the limitations? I am curious as to how you go about it. For instance, cracks or rips and severly faded photos and more and what tools to you use. I'm factinated and would love to hear more about it.
                            DJ
                            Wow what a request! Probably the best starting point is cleaning. Everybody knows that's an essential with oil paintings but most never consider it with photos so they leave a half century or more of scum on them from fireplanes, kitchen grease, oil furnaces, etc. If the old photo was treasured it was usually displayed and if it was displayed it is dirty.

                            So the buzz is to tell people to put them into an "acid free" album like we are telling them something important. Why? A dirty photo in an acid free abum is still a contaminated dirty photo and when you are copying or scanning and adding that collection of dirt and grime to the image forever more, it borders on negligence that would get you sued in any other profession. (I feel strongly about professionalism)

                            Once you start with the idea that cleaning can and must be done, the rest will follow and you'll learn as you go. The rules of conservartion are that you don't take on anything that you can't "undo" or that isn't reversible. Replacing the grime on old photos is the one exception!

                            Jim Conway
                            Timemark Photo Conservators

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                            • #15
                              Please feel free to start as many new threads as you'd like in our new "Conservation and Repair" forum and educate us all

                              This cleaning business would be an ideal start. We also get a lot of questions about removing old mounts. There's one there now, I believe.
                              Learn by teaching
                              Take responsibility for learning

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