Photo Retouching / Rescue

As a person I love to see things salvaged, whether it be a classic old banger restored to its former glory or a building renovated; so long as it remains functional and in tune with modern life.

Recently I was asked by family to restore some old photographs. Due to a combination of factors such as the development processes involved at the time, as well as natural detoriation and scratching — these had faded rather heavily.

One of my Great-Great-Grandfathers, this photograph is over one hundred years old.

Like many processes the quality of the starting point determines the output, so I scanned each item in high resolution (about 6000 ppi) and then proceeded to analyse images on a channel by channel basis, repairing scratches and tears, and repaint in lost areas of detail. Once the repair had reached a suitable level I flattened the results and focused on restoring the contrast: first by particular area, then overall. The beauty of photoshop is there are multiple methods of achieving a result, so its often a case of experimenting with these methods in order to achieve the best results. Some factors such as poor focus at time of photograph can only be remedied to a degree, but I hope this example shows that even with photographs — some things deemed lost can be brought from the brink.

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