The Status Quo

A class photo. All girls around the age of 8-10 years old, dressed for their Holy Communion. Very serious faces, they probably would have gotten into trouble for smiling, let alone laughing out loud, on what would have been an important religious ceremony in their family and community. And you just didn’t smile in photos at that time altogether anyway.


There was not a lot of damage, a few odd specks and splatters and it was hard to tell what were specks and splatters and not part of the cobblestone or the wooden gate. I guess as long as it’s only ‘the background’ it can be at the discretion of the restorator  :)

Some minor discolourations from moisture which gave a yellow and blueish tint to some areas. Only minor fine cracking which was only visible once zooming in.


I cleaned up the odd specks and fixed the discolourations. I chose to leave some cracks in the outside white frame of the photo. The aim of digital restoration is, as always, to better the status quo of an original image and create a copy that can be handled, looked at and touched, without changing the fact that it’s original exists in time and suffered from its passing.


About Christmas

“The approach of Christmas brings harassment and dread to many excellent people,” writes Mark Twain in ‘Following the Equator’,  “They have to buy a cart-load of presents, and they never know what to buy to hit the various tastes; they put in three weeks of hard and anxious work, and when Christmas morning comes they are so dissatisfied with the result, and so disappointed that they want to sit down and cry. Then they give thanks that Christmas comes but once a year.”

Times have changed a bit since he wrote this non-fiction travelogue in 1897, but – as with a great deal of other things – his observation is largely as spot-on today as it was in his time.

Mind you, I wonder what he would say about online shopping and last-minute craze on December, 24th, about the exchange frenzy in shops straight after Christmas and the Boxing Day Sales. Very few people bother writing cards or letters at Christmas any more. Even less seem to do any baking or special cooking preparations that needs to take place weeks and days before. So I do really wonder why we seem to have less time and more chaos than ever before in the weeks leading up to this one day of the year.

Well, I am generally a organized person, and with our families and many friends largely on the other side of the world I don’t have a choice but being done with presents relatively early, so they can go on their postal trip around the globe. Our family Christmas card is usually done early in October, for the same reason. Being summer in Australia, and us only a small family, there is not much going on with endless hours in the kitchen, and large dinners and Christmas Day lunches, so I’m off the hook for that, too.

Yet, the last two weeks leading up to Christmas seem to go a bit more mad every year. I have odd relapses in my organization, I seem to forget a lot, run around a lot, am a little breathless and frantic.

Nevertheless, I didn’t sit down on Christmas morning and cry, so I suppose that’s a good thing.

And the last week was spent in calm and happiness with lots of laughter and love. I hope your Christmas was spent the same way, don’t forget to laugh a lot, especially about yourself :)


Dog Silhouettes

Up until a few years ago I never actually owned a dog. I was a dog walker of sorts as a teenager to earn some money, and I temporarily fostered dogs of friends when they were away. Any of those dog were ill behaved, dreadfully spoiled and not trained at all.

Our boys did beg for years for us to have a dog. We do live on a fairly largish block of land, so no excuses not to have a dog, really. We didn’t have a fence for a long time, and that was our sentence: ‘We can’t get a dog until the landscaping is done and the fence is up.’ Well, one day the landscaping was done and the fence up, and we had no excuse any more.

We got a twelve week old puppy through one of the local dog rescue places. It was a bit of a journey to get used to her, and for her to get used to our weird family, but now it’s all just bliss. Naturally I wouldn’t have an ill behaved dog, so we went to puppy school and all that, and I’m still going to dog obedience once a week. It’s more like dog playgroup really, it’s lovely and social, and I feel bad when I don’t go because it rains or because I have to work and her sad, reproachful eyes follow me around all day ….

Anyway, through this dog playgroup I met a lot of dogs and as my mind just doesn’t stop seeing, eventually, the series of Dog Silhouettes was born.

This is the transformation from the original photo:

Dog1 Dog2

Dog3 Dog Silhouette on green background with inspirational text/quote

You might remember Puppy Stella, this was the original:


It turned into this:

Dog Silhouette on yellow background with inspirational text

The first Dog Silhouettes are now available through my Made It Store:)

Size Matters

1950s? photo, tram in street setting, male figure in foreground

At first you wouldn’t know how tiny it is.

Only the comparison to my camera lens cap reveals it. Why did they make photos so small in the olden days. A logic explanation would be: small paper, less cost for paper, less cost for development, less time …. I tried to find out the facts about this, but I couldn’t get a lead. If you happen to know please fill me in :)


These tiny photos pose various problems:

One, they are small to scan, small to work on and small to fix, plus there is a danger of loss of detail if I make them larger.

Two, apart from the obvious rips and scratches, it’s very hard to see any damage with the naked eye. The tilting-test shows fingerprints and odd marks but any other damage can only be seen once the photo is in my computer and I can zoom in on it.

Third, apart from the odd outcome when I get the restorated photo printed in the normal sizes of today, these ‘odd’ sizes don’t fit properly into any slip-in albums we can purchase today either, most slip-in pockets are 4×6″, so poor little photos like these fall about and only stay put if its diligent owner attaches it to a 4×6″ piece of scrap-booking paper.

Anyway, there was not much damage in this photo from the 1950s, at least not visible to the naked eye. I fixed some specks and scratches and the fingerprints, then I lightened the shadows just a bit, made the gentleman’s black pants, black trimmings on his jacket and his cap a bit darker, so they stand out, sharpened it all slightly and voila …. :)

Before-After Comparison of digital restoration

Hidden Quality

Extremely thick coasters or maybe paper weights.

That’s generally what people think when they visit my stall at markets or come to my studio and see the acrylic photo blocks for the first time.

Goes to show that acrylic blocks are still fairly new in Australia. Not many people are familiar with them.

Which is good in two ways:

One, it makes me feel like a bit of a trendsetter, and two, it creates an instant talking point, makes for some laughs and gives me a chance to hand out my card.

I do really love the acrylic blocks, they come in many sizes, but my favourites are the 5×7″ and the cute little 10x10cm. I know, different measurements, keeps me up with my measurement conversions, let me tell you :)

Whether with my images, whether with inspirational quotes, or with your images: they are the most stylish and newest way to present any image with a frameless floating like effect.

This Christmas many clients will be the trendsetters amongst their friends and families, having ordered a wide variety of images and family photos on their own special stylish acrylic photo block.

Wish I could be there will all of them when presents get unwrapped on Christmas morning :)


Four Paws in Moving Pictures

After a lot of thinking and planning the request of a dog owner came to life with this video.

Meet Sky, a very smart and well-trained Border Collie. She is the star of az pictured’s very first You Tube video!

It was a lovely experience planning the shoot, taking the photos on a beautiful mild spring morning and making this video. Lots of new skills were acquired, tried and tested.

What do you think?


Photography History: The Mexican Suitcase

Originally posted on Exploratorius:

View original

Theme of the Day Sessions

Every now and then I’ll be offering themed shoots in my little studio, only available on the specified days.

The idea for these types of more creative portrait sessions has been simmering in my head for a little while. My mum took me to the small photo booth type stall in the local mall every year around my birthday. It was quick, fairly cheap, and the whole family treasures the photos that were taken. I feel this is missing for many families today. Yes, everybody takes lots and lots of photos on their phones … and then what? Most never get printed, many are forever gone when the phone accidentally ends up in the washing machine or is being lost, usually the kids never get to see them anyway. They grow up not having any reference to their childhood face.

The ‘Theme of the Day Sessions’ will be in a decorated studio environment, depending on the theme.

Very easy, really.

Nest session is ‘It’s My Birthday’ on Saturday November 1st.

Children can wear whatever they like. They can bring any toy or favorite thing that they want have in the photo.

For $35 you’ll receive a 12×8″ collage with two 4×6″ photos and one 6×8″ photo with your text.

Contact me for bookings via my Website or Facebook.


The Texta Devil

This example shows that photos don’t necessarily have to be really, really old to have something terrible happen to them.

The original photo is from the mid 1970s and it had some creative artwork added to it with a blue texta.

When Mum discovered the culprit in the act she tried to wipe the texta marks off – which didn’t work and just got a lot of fluff stuck on the photo.

Luckily, Mum found me at one of the recent markets that I attended.

The blue texta was removed, all scratches and fluff as well. I turned the image black & white to get rid of the age-tint, but I warmed it up with just a little sepia. Overall despeckled and details sharpenend.

A beautiful memory, soured by this texta devil, has been restored in a good way  :)


Puppy Love

A friend got a puppy.

Everybody in their household was buzzing with excitement. When I first saw it, it was a curly haired furry little sleeping heap. Guess what my first question was? You’re saying ‘Can I take photos of your puppy’? – You’re exactly right. :)

I must have given them a bit of a fright when they opened the door on the day and they saw me buckling under my gear: camera bag, tripod, portable backgrounds, two boxes of blankets and props …

Lucky I didn’t get the door slammed in my face and was still allowed to come in.

The puppy of course – four days older then when I first met it – was wide awake and full of beans.

Three hours later, a lot of coaxing, bribing, a little nap and lots of cuddles, this is a snippet of the result.

Who doesn’t love a puppy?

IMG_0362xBlog IMG_0353xBlog IMG_0300xBlog IMG_0158xBlog


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 95 other followers