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Mon, Oct 25th - 4:00AM

Old photo Picture Restoration
Picture restoration of old rolled up photo

Picture restoration of old rolled up photo

This post describes some physical picture restoration techniques carried out by conservationists before digital restoration can be carried out.

People ask me can I perform picture restoration. I can restore pictures but it is only a digital copy of your pictures that I restore, not the physical picture itself. Actually restoring the pictures surface is something best left to photo preservation experts found in museum departments. The ultimate goal of having your picture restored is to allow it to be digitally copied and restored so any number of reprints can be made and handed around the immediate family or interested parties. If the photo is of particular historical interest or of genealogical importance, then the restoration is something that should be considered if the preservation of your family history is to be ensured.

 For example, restoring an old cracked and rolled up photo would require it to be unrolled. If it is brittle, the picture to be restored will break up when forced against its natural curled up state. It will need to be relaxed and opened slowly. The way to restore the picture back to its original position is to introduce some moisture. A risky undertaking if not performed properly.

The best way to do this would be in a controlled environment, properly monitored to avoid over saturation. Picture restoration in this manner is achieved by using deionised water vapour introduced into a small chamber or tent, to slowly moisten the paper to relax it and ease out the rolled photo. This could be done with an ultrasonic humidifier or home humidifier unit, which is perfect for introducing small, yet controlled amounts of moisture with no additional contaminants associated with plain tap water.

Depending on the thickness of the picture this could take days to do, I read of one case taking 10 days. Keeping the area and environment clean and free from airborne containments is paramount because if the there are any mould spores present, this is an ideal environment for them to flourish. Slowly over a period of hours or days, the roll can be unfurled as the moisture penetrates the paper it can be weighed down. The time this takes depends on the picture to be restored, the thickness of the paper, or size of the final photo.

The picture restoration can be carried out when the photo has been flattened and dried. To strengthen the fragile paper further it can be backed with acid free parchment and any flakes or cracked pieces can be restored to the picture with acid free glues or a starch paste. This restoring of the picture can also take time, as some can be like a jigsaw to replace the individual flakes ready for the digital picture restoration. Preservation artists such as those found in museums have immense patience and go to great lengths to replace as many of the original pieces as possible.

Once such museum I have contacted before, the Royal Academy of Arts in London perform this kind of dry repairs, but have yet to confirm if they have the moisture picture restoration facility. Once in this dry state the digital picture restoration can begin whereby the picture is scanned and then restored as in the conventional photo or picture restoration process.
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Mon, Oct 25th - 3:54AM

Unicyle record attempt circa 1909 Joseph Henry Herbert
I wanted to share this fabulous photo with you all. A customer of mine sent it to me to be restored and what a fascinating restoration project, not much is known other than his record attempt was to ultimately end in tragedy!

Unicycle record attempt circa 1909

The caption in the photo reads

"Mr. Herbert established a quarter mile record for a 14-inch wheel, viz., 3min. 25 1-5sec.- a feat stated, that have never before been attempted, and which the spectators loudly applauded"

Any cycling buffs would be interested in this as its a very early example of a unicycle. Whats curious about is that it has a very small wheel and not at all like the huge, one wheeled descendants of the Penny Fathing. I looks rather like someone took the huge wheel out and left the small stabiliser wheel at the back and added some pedals. The tyre is still solid rubber and it looks like to me the seat is on a small bracket sticking out from the curved central pillar.

The information I have is that Joseph Henry Herbert was born in Islington, London in 1894 and died in Nottingham 1924. The story goes that he was kicked by a horse in the chest, and while in hospital was put him in a steam tent to help him recover from pneumonia but alas he died. He was married to Violet and he left 7 children all under 12 years old. A very sad tale indeed and if anyone reading this happened know anything about this please contact me. This memory of him can now live in on in his restored picture.
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Mon, Oct 25th - 3:50AM

Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are? That is a good question? I am a photo restoration artist, a photo retoucher and a image wizard. Whilst i have many years in the trade I don't proclaim to be best photo restoration artist in the world as I am sure there are older wiser people than I. I certainly take pride in my work and enjoy what I do, in fact I eat, breath and sleep photo restorations, imaging and photoshop. I guess if you were to ask who do you think you are? I would answer, I rebuild memories and preserve moments in history so those memories can live on.

There are many sides to me though, if asked who do you think you are? I may also answer, an aspiring imaging professional creating visually exciting works of art. I am not sure I can be defined solely as a photo restoration artist. Way back my computer artistic roots began on the BBC micro computer with a pixel editor, thats drawing one tiny square at a time on a grid. My first real creation was a still life human skull. It was printed on an acorn electron with a tiny printer using a sort of carbon stick and a small electric charge to push particles onto the page.

Photo restoration artist Neil Rhodes Pixel Art on a BBC Micro Computer in 1983

Image shows main pixel art image and individual pixels. From here computer graphics and painting programs came along and eventually photoshop on the PC. I dabbled with Macs for a while but settled for a PC. From there on in I was hooked on computer graphics, art based programs. My Photography BA Hons Degree was completed using computers back in 1993 and its just been a technological roller coaster ride ever since. The above hopefully answers the question, Who do you think you are?
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Mon, Oct 25th - 3:46AM

Scanning and stitching large images
Often images are too large to scan in one go especially the huge lengths of panorama photos that can stretch to well over 30 inches and larger than 50 inches in some cases!

long panorama school photo

How do you scan it? You can scan this type of image in sections and then use PhotoShop to peice them back together. I will use an example of a photo around 56 inches long of some windmills. It was scanned in five separate sections with an overlap or around 25% per photo and with all your scanners auto exposure setting turned off. This is to ensure that all the separate scans are exactly the same. If you leave your scanner to auto correct each one then they will all end up with slightly different tones and contrast which wont match well when photoshop comes to stitch them together. Once your image is scanned save the files off to a folder called panorama or something useful to you. Below is the place to find the photo merge or stitch menu to start the photo stitching process once we have our scans saved.

Finding the

 Next, browse to where we saved the images.

Pointing the photomerge to open the separate scans ready for stitching

Select the "Auto" option from the radio buttons and select "blend images together" from the check box below the list of files you browsed for just now. Then select OK.

panorama layers once stitched

In the finished result above after PhotoShop has finished stitching the layers, each one will be on a separate layer allowing you to fine tune them in case the stitch was not 100% accurate. You can see here that I have switched off one of the layers so you can see how photoshop has blended the image. Its done in a nice, seemingly random fashion which is the best blend route and so that it cannot be seen when you zoom in and inspect it. Which is of course the way we want it, totally invisible! There are not many occasions when it gets it wrong. I have had 2 or 3 instances when stitching school photos with many people together that two or more heads get replicated. Its very rare but can be corrected by manually painting over the masks on the layers. To do this you click on the black mask of the layer that wasn't blended properly and paint with black or white soft brush, to add or remove the offending or misaligned part of the image.

To see this image restored, see can panorama images be restored or to see another example of stitching images try the post on flaked emulsion on large images
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