Rather off topic of photo repair today, but still interesting and to do with Photoshop, I have been entering PhotoShop talent Competitions, you can see my entries below. I have had 2 seconds and one 4th place so far. I am now hooked so keep looking for more entries.
4th place – created from a stack of cups and a Bonsai tree
2nd place winner – frost and deer and extra sun rays added to a woodland scene.
EDIT: PhotoshopTalent website has now been renamed pxleyes, so please visit Neil Rhodes photo art portfolio for all my entries. Check back regularly to see more entries
I have been restoring a fair few black and white photos on fibrous cardboard recently. This type of photo seems to have had the light sensitive emulsion painted onto the board and then exposed to light. I would suggest that such large sizes of paper could not be made so the photographer simply grabbed a stable matt cardboard base and painted on the chemicals. The resulting image is a very soft focused photo without any hard defined edges.
With this photo board it has a matt finish and absorbs moisture very well. If you have any very large old photos, perhaps stored in the loft, still in a frame in a plastic bag, please dig them out and put the somewhere dry and warm before they suck up the moisture in the cool damp air, circulating around your loft. As they do this they swell a little and often grow mould of varying types. The fine black soot-like mould and dry white, spidery feather-like mould, possibly mildew. Neither of these do your photos any good, its best to dry them out slowly and then dust them off very lightly with a soft artist’s paint brush. Once the worst is off, use a little photographer’s canned air to blow away the spores, but do this outside otherwise they will just settle in the house and not too close to the photo either.
Once it’s all clean get your photo restoration done. The process of degradation is already happening and there is not a lot you can do to stop it! Click this link to see a post on photo restoration of board based photos
Let’s say a huge chunk of an image is missing, an object or some ones torso or perhaps a sky. These missing elements can be replaced using other photos taken at a similar time. This is very handy and it can work very well but what if there are no other photos and the owner of the original has no idea what would have been worn at that time or what the weather was doing or what the missing object in the photo was, what then?Restoring is one thing, healing and patching away cracks, removing stains and revealing details hidden by grime and years of neglect, but where does this restoration stop and the inventing begins?.
Its not just about sculpting something out of thin air, is it? When was the photo taken? What were the trends of that period? What were the clothing styles? I try to work out what is likely to be missing and work inventively. It may take while to find what I am looking for, period clothes, toys, furniture, backdrops but it is worth the search.
Most importantly of all when I have found some reference material that can be used I match the grain, the lighting and shadows. I cringe every time I see restorations with beautifully smooth skies or some replaced clothing where the grain and texture has not been matched up and it looks terrible. Shadows are a tell tale sign as well so match these in too and don’t forget the high-lights. The whole idea of a restoration is for it to look un-restored, like it was never damaged in the first place. This is the hardest trick to master, do this and you surely can not put a foot wrong.