An unorthodox method to relaxation…

Posted: August 4, 2011 in Art, Family, Memories, Music, Personal, Work

For a while now, I have been working on my family tree (it is now in its second year!) and I have realised that although it is a satisfying operation to undertake, it is also rather stressful, causing many a headache of confusion and hair-pulling sessions, due to many families recycling the same name for 5 generations, and sometimes even a few times in one generation (baby born but dies young, so they name the next child with the same name)
This, however has led me to rediscover one of the most relaxing tasks I have ever come across as a designer and artist.

Photo Restoration and Retouching.

Yes, some people in my industry hate it, like nails on a chalkboard, but I have found that with the right music, and no distractions or looming deadlines, it is a very rewarding task. I have spent many a cold, rainy night at my mac, lights out and headphones on, listening to classical music (usually Beethoven or Tchaikovsky) and simply photoshopping until the wee-hours of the morning. I have restored about 100 photos for my family tree, mostly just removing the yellowed ageing that has all but ruined some photos, but with some, they have been torn, folded, water-damaged or even removing a person or object that simply ruins a photo (an arm cutting into a shot, or debris on the ground etc)

Some of my results have impressed me, however the real test will be when I eventually burn them all onto a DVD and give them to the families of the people in the photos. I think it is one job I could definitely do for a living though, I would love to go to work each day, come out more relaxed than when I went in, get a good dose of classical music and end up potentially making people very happy.

Below are some samples of my work so far.

This is a photo of my Grandma’s music class (She can be seen far right) when she was around 8 years old.

Nan Class Graduate BEFORE

Before - This is a photo of my grandma (far right) graduating from her music school at the age of about 8. Obviously I want to try to keep this photo for as long as possible, however in its current state, it won't be around for much longer. It shows signs of ripping, ageing, and generally looks older than its true age of about 80 years old.

Nan Class Graduate AFTER

Restored - Once the colours were rebalanced, I needed to rebuild the damaged edges, repair any blemishes on the photo and also fix up some previous repair jobs where glue had been used (obviously before Photoshop!)
This image took approximately 1 hour to restore.

Below is a before & after of the only known photo of my Grandma’s older sister, who died at a young age.


Before - This is a photo of my grandma's older sister (which is roughly 96 years old!), who only lived for about 9 months after birth. This is the only known photo I have found of her, so I wanted to restore it and do it justice. Someone had folded it to fit into a particular sized frame (long since gone) and the fold marks are deep, cutting through the image and ruining the composition. Also, the black areas have started to silver, as this image would have been behind glass, it has suffered premature ageing and damage from the sunlight (compared to an archival quality photo album)


After - I have restored the folds, actually rebuilding the base of the table, as the bottom fold was right on the edge of it, cutting through both legs which have also been rebuilt. I removed some blemishes, and restored the black area behind the infant to what it should be (or at least what I think suits the composition).
This image took approximately 45 minutes to restore.

Of course, if anyone is interested in having an old photo restored, by all means contact me via my email, or drop a comment here and I will get back to you! 😀


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