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Giving new life to old photos


Bryan
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My wife paid her annual visit to see her cousin and found that he had no family photos, nothing of his parents nor anything of him as a child. We had inherited a stack of old photos from my wife's parents including pictures of her cousin's parents etc so I was tasked with bringing them back to life. I first tried using my camera, but, despite shooting in north light and using a polarising filter, I couldn't get rid of the reflections. I then tried my aged Epson scanner and the results were much better. Most of the pics were of a poor quality, taken by cheap box cameras by folk who could not hold them steady, keep the level horizontal, or avoid cutting off people's heads. I was able to I improve the contrast in PS and of course spent ages despotting and cloning out tears and folds in the originals. However three of the shots were much better, clearly taken by somebody who knew what they were doing and using a decent camera. One showed my wife's grandmother in her later years, but still an attractive woman, while another was of her grandfather in military uniform at the time of the first world war. Unfortunately that print was badly damaged but several hours work later I managed to restore some semblance of a likeness. I will send these images to our sons, their great grandparents. Of the other shots a few people inherited the facial  features of others in the family group as tears in the prints had removed their own !

 

I confess that I enjoyed the process, it reminded me of happy days scanning and retouching black and white negatives.

Edited by Bryan
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I can understand your feelings Bryan especially that this is your own family. I feel much the same sense of privilege working on the old slides that I am digitising. I'm zooming in on a picture taken 60 years ago taking in all the details and it really is a sort of time travel.

 

One collection of pictures was taken by a fomer geography teacher.

 

https://blog.geographyphotos.com/2020/11/17/geography-photos-by-margaret-folland/

 

She and a friend were teaching in Trinidad in the early 1960s and during their holidays travelled round the Caribbean, USA, Central America, South America. As a result of the blog post I was contacted by a former student from Birmingham who remembers how 'Miss Folland' used her slides to bring geography lessons to life and give her a lifelong interest in the subject. 

 

She travelled with a companion whose first name is  on some of the slide captions and featured in many of the images. One slide also gave her surname and I took a chance and wrote to a person of that surname ( from my Ancestry account). She was delighted and we spoke of the phone a couple of times. I sent her a batch of prints of her which clearly brought back lots of memories ( see below) some of whcih she had compleletly forgotten about. 

 

I have done over a thousand of her images so far and doing more today. 

https://www.geographyphotos.com/gallery/Margaret-Folland/G0000m0jZF8Foxoo/C0000S3ijXnOmzNA

 

This was in the very early days of tourism for some sites which are now major attractions. Look at what she is wearing climbing the mountain that towers over Machu Picchu.

 

I0000NH1ITWniuSE.jpg

Female tourist sitting on mountain of Huayna Picchu with view to Machu Picchu, Peru, South America c 1962 - note footwear!

 

I0000ju23zjltHzA.jpg

Mining at Cerro de Pasco, Peru, South America, c 1962 two female tourists wearing hard hats on tour

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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6 hours ago, Bryan said:

 

I first tried using my camera, but, despite shooting in north light and using a polarising filter, I couldn't get rid of the reflections.

 

 

 

I don't know if this helps...

 

Every few months we (that is Sowerby Bridge ArtCircle) put on a new exhibition of work and one of my tasks is to take photographs of all the exhibits. There isn't time to unframe them or take them into a studio so I have to shoot them in situ (usually in a pub). To avoid reflections as much as possible I shoot at an angle (carefully selected to have the least interference from reflections) and then use the Distort tool in Photoshop to restore them to the correct size and shape. This also means I can use flash without any danger of reflection. This works in about 95% of cases - the ones where it's impossible to avoid reflections can usually be taken off the wall briefly and photographed in a different position.

 

Alan

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4 hours ago, geogphotos said:

and it really is a sort of time travel.

 

 

It's addictive. I've spent far too long on Google Street view making comparisons then having to try and identify long since demolished buildings.

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8 hours ago, Inchiquin said:

 

I don't know if this helps...

 

Every few months we (that is Sowerby Bridge ArtCircle) put on a new exhibition of work and one of my tasks is to take photographs of all the exhibits. There isn't time to unframe them or take them into a studio so I have to shoot them in situ (usually in a pub). To avoid reflections as much as possible I shoot at an angle (carefully selected to have the least interference from reflections) and then use the Distort tool in Photoshop to restore them to the correct size and shape. This also means I can use flash without any danger of reflection. This works in about 95% of cases - the ones where it's impossible to avoid reflections can usually be taken off the wall briefly and photographed in a different position.

 

Alan

 

Thanks Alan, I will try that if there is a future need to photograph prints.

 

A digression, I bought a print of a painting of a local scene from a National Museum by mail order, but was disappointed to see that they had not managed to entirely control the reflections when photographing the painting. I was offered my money back, but wanted them to do the job properly, when I was given a story about the painting being locked away in storage etc. I decided to keep the print,  it hangs on our lounge wall, and if you don't look too closely, you don't see the reflections !

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