Category Archives: Restoration

Vintage Junk Mail

Let’s call it that.

A brochure fell into my hands, from 1992. So not vintage, strictly speaking, but certainly VERY vintage in terms of what it was trying to entice us to buy.

Frankly, I cannot remember whether there was junk mail in 1992. I guess there must have been, but not to the extend it’s about today. Even with the ‘no junk mail’ sticker on the letterbox you tend to end up with an array of odd flyers and brochures.

So, this brochure from 1992, from a computer shop located in Glebe in NSW, is newspaper size, 6 pages thick, and has given us a great deal of things to snigger about.

I suggest you make yourself a cuppa and have a giggle, too 🙂

Now, I have to make sure I keep this or that brochure from today, you know, to have a giggle in another 25 years 🙂

computerreport1

computerreport2


Copies Rock

If you’ve been following my little blogging attempts for a while you’ll know that I have a great passion for old photos. Looking at them, talking about them, the people and places they show, and also displaying them. It’s my thing.

While a lot of people have kept negatives and slides from decades ago, and have the printed photo in an album or a picture frame, most would be hard pressed to find that particular negative or slide to have another print made, should their first print get lost or damaged in any way. And the vast majority of people do not even have any negatives or slides, either because they were thrown out eons ago or because their old photos are from a time where there weren’t any negatives. Or the photo they have hanging on the wall in their bedroom was done by a professional photographer, who didn’t hand out negatives or copies.

Displaying an original is not a good idea, because it definitely will get exposed to light (sunlight or artificial light) and very likely get exposed to dust, humidity, to the acids in non-archival frames, backings and matting, or get stuck to the glass of the frame, which happens more often than you might think.

Have a look around your home: if you have any photos displayed – and you should 🙂 – are they the originals?

If they are, I suggest you tackle this task over your next free weekend, and have copies made, or make them yourself. Then you put the copy back up in its frame on the mantle piece and the original photo safely in an archival album. That way your original is not in any danger.

If it is already a copy, well done. Better check you still have that original, or the negative, or the slide, and if not, get a copy of that copy.

To get copies is so easy these days:

  • Use your copy/printer and simply print a copy of your photo. Naturally a copy on ordinary white copy paper won’t deliver a flash result, maybe you want to look into investing in some proper photo paper, it has come down in price a lot in recent years
  • Maybe you have a copy/printer + scanner. Scan your photo, save it on a thumb drive and go to your nearest photo print place. Prints cost next to nothing these days, and if it’s a good photo print place, they will be able to assist you if you have any questions.
  • If you have a fancy camera: put your photo on a flat white surface in a well lit room (no direct sunlight) and take a photo of your photo. You can then either upload on a computer or laptop or take your memory card directly to a photo print place. Or print it yourself if you have a decent printer and want to invest in photo paper.
  • Use your smartphone as you would the fancy camera.

Old photos in particular have odd sizes. Simply print bigger and use some fancy scissors to cut them out, like I did with the two shown in the picture.

Copies rock

Copies rock. I have a whole lot of them of original family photos like that, and I change them around all the time 🙂

 

 


Digital Ironing

It was very exciting when a client hired me to digitize a large part of her collection of her late mother’s fashion illustrations.

Fashion illustration was the main form of advertisement for fashion designers, clothing manufacturing companies and department stores. The designs were not only displaying the styles of their day but also a certain lifestyle.

The collection I worked with consists of fashion illustrations from the mid 1930s, fashion sketches on full double-sided magazine style spreads from the 1940s and 1950s, and lots and lots of smaller ‘practice’ works. Women’s faces and figures, hairstyles, hands, gloves, shoes, house dresses, evening gowns, aprons, underwear, handbags, beach scenes, scenes with children and babies, neatly sketched bottles advertising the benefits of face lotion and powder, ladies’ fashion patterns, advertising for ‘floral seer sucker frocks’ and ‘toddler straw bonnets’. Full page drawings enticing the women of the time to buy dresses in ‘linens, to take you through the summer in cool, crisp perfection’ and beautiful evening gowns which were ’emblazoned with the royal signature to put you in the mood for the festivities of coronation year’.

Did I mention I love my job? I spent many happy hours photographing the vast array of sheets of lose papers of all kinds with overall very little damage. Mostly, the sheets have yellowed with age and there’s always the odd specks and stains. And odd paper sizes. The most damage consisted of creases and folds and bent pages.

My brief was to digitize, not only for safekeeping and convenience of sharing the images with family abroad, but also to enable the client to use some of her late mother’s works to create anything from wallpaper to pillow covers to greeting cards.

For privacy reasons I cannot show you too much of this collection, but I have put together some links for you to have a peek at. They should give you a great idea of the beauty I had before my eyes that day 🙂

Fashion illustration from the 1930s, the 1940s and the 1950s.

As I mentioned the most damage was creases and bent pages. I show you a few examples of what I mean:

DigitalIroning

DigitalIroning2

I call it digital ironing. It may seem like a quick fix and move on, but it’s not. And being me, there’s a lot of fine tuning and coming back to the same work several times because I may have overlooked something. And there’s always the danger to ‘overdo it’ in Photoshop, especially in this job, where the brief was to maintain the original character of the work, so I tried hard to get each image as close to what it would have looked like on the day it was created.

DigitalIroning3

But yes, creases = digital ironing, you get the picture 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Not Like Van Gogh

Time again to say thank you to all and everyone who goes through the troubles of following the journey of az pictured, whether it be on the blog, Facebook, Instagram or with the Lens Cap Chronicle, my very own newsletter.

This journey would only be half as much fun if I had to make it alone. I may only be a small business, but I put my heart in soul into my work. Not like Vincent Van Gogh, who said ‘I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.’ At least I hope so 😉

So here’s to you all and my thank you comes with a little visual treat, showing all the latest Instagram posts of mine, that have been featured on some of the collaboration fun sites that I follow.

If you want to check them out and get some creative juices flowing: @hiyapapayaphotoaday, @rainbow_wall, @tv_neatly, @shotwithlove, @seekthepositive, @365_today, @keepingwiththetimes, @its_my_week

IGThankYou


For the Love of Beer

Digital restorations of old photographs can be tricky. Some can be outright nightmarish. The more one zooms into the image, the more damage becomes visible. Somehow it becomes quite obsessive to fix ‘everything’ and I have had nights where I’ve been dreaming in pixels after a long session at the computer during the day.

In this beer advertising from the 1950s, the very pretty model with the very elegant hands holds this for today’s standards very unbeer-ish glass in the air, a bit like a chalice. It’s a fine piece of photography, but the 8×10″ print has suffered over time.

Resto

As always, my main goal is to get the digital restoration as close to what the image would have looked like on the day it was printed as possible. There’s a fine line in overdoing it.

In the original, the only things in sharp focus are the hands and the glass, the bottle was deliberately left slightly blurry, and the face of the model was totally out of focus. I did not change that, but made sure I worked very neatly on the hands and glass, which are the main focus.

In the close-ups you can see the damage, the scratches, all the little spots and specks, that needed to go.

Restob

And the fingerprint. It always makes my heart skip a beat, when I find fingerprints on photos. Yes, paper and inks back then were different, but please, please, please don’t ever handle photos, old or new, it doesn’t matter, unless you hands are clean and dry, and hold by the edges only. The white glove thing is a myth, I have attached a link to that here, if you’re interested in reading up on that.

And I have done some research on the beer, which is a fine brew from the Swan Brewery in Perth. You can purchase this very label for a reasonable amount on e-bay, if that takes your fancy.

Love the history part of old photos 🙂

 


Part of Our World

This post is totally unrelated to photography, but totally related to az pictured’s daily fairings during school holidays, which just finished for us.
You see, my young one is a great singer. Choir boy, soloist, rock-star in the shower. And he has this tendency to burst into song ….. constantly and always and everywhere. Sometimes with no break for hours. Of course, he doesn’t even realize, that he’s singing. I am used to be working largely in silence and solitude. So when he’s home, shut doors are just not enough in this blue board house of ours.
Naturally, I love him to bits, he’s my baby boy, my fairy child.
But at the end of those school holiday song days that feel like they are 20 hours long, my mind is going in circles with bits and pieces of a gazillion songs, all started or partially sung, and none finished.
Just for fun, I spent two days writing down his musical bursts. Read them and feel free to test your musical knowledge, figuring out song titles/band names/stage pieces/advertising slogans/snippets from movies ………
And then imagine hearing this list back and forth, with a plentyful of ooohoooo’s and aaah aaah, lalala’s inbetween.
You are welcome 🙂

You gotta put your hands in the air, yes your hands in the air, doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo
Somewhere beyond the sea, somewhere waiting for me, I’ll go sailing.
The pines were roaring on the height, the winds were moaning in the night,
We must away, ere break of day …
YOU SHALL NOT PASS!
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
I think she’s got it, I think she’s got it
Hm hm the fresh food people, bringing fresh food to you
I need a dollar, dollar, a dollar is what I need, yeah yeah
And she will be loved, she will be loved.
Papa, paparazzi
Take on me, take me on, I’ll be gone in a day or twooooooooo
Doesn’t that sound familiar, doesn’t that feel close to home, doesn’t that make you shiver.
Settle in to play ‘do you remember so and so’,
Number three is never say her name
Hold on, if you feel like letting go. Hold on, it gets better than you know.
I’m gonna take you for a ride on a big yet plane, hey hey
Tonight we are young, let us set the world on fire, we can go higher aaaaahhh
Degrumph went the little green frog one day, and the frog went grumph grumph grumph,
But we all know frogs go ladidadida, ladidadida, ladidadida
You’re unpredictable
Hey Mr Tallyman, tally the banana, daylight cometh we wanna go home
I don’t care, I love it. I don’t care, I love it, I love it
We will, we will rock you, sing it, we will, we will rock you
I love rock and roll, put another dime in the juke box baby, I love rock and roll,
take your time and dance with me
My life is brilliant, my love is pure, I saw an angel, of that I’m sure,
Forever young, I wanna be forever young
I won’t hesitate no more, no more, it’s not ok, I’m yours
High and mighty alone we are kings, whirlwinds of fire we ride
Providence brought us the crown and the ring, covered with blood and our pride
I am a gummybear, a yummy gummybear. I am a yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy gummybear, oh yea
Who will buy my sweet red roses, two blooms for a penny,
Any milk today, mistress, any milk today mistress, two blooms for a penny
Who will buy this wonderful morning? Such a sky you never did see!
Who will tie it up with a ribbon and put it in a box for me?
I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing, ’cause everyone listens when I start to sing
I’m so grateful and proud, all I want is to sing it out loud
Red: the blood of angry men!
Black: the dark of ages past!
Red: a world about to dawn!
Black: the night that ends at last!
And this is what she had to say, a pearl necklace, she wants a pearl necklace,
she wants a pearl necklace
Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!
Be a man, you must be swift as a coursing river, be a man, with all the force of a great typhoon, be a man, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon, of the moon
Prince Ali – fabulous he – Ali Ababwa, genuflect, show some respect:
Down on one knee.
We go together like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong
Remembered forever as shoobop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom
Chang chang changitty chang shoobop, that’s the way it should be, wha ooohhhh, yeah
And it’s not easy to be me. Up, up and away, away from here, well it’s allright
You can all sleep sound tonight, I’m not crazy, or anything
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave
With what you wanna say
Down, down, the prices are down. Down, down
You got the moves like Jagger, I got the moves like Jagger, I got the mooooooooves like Jagger.
Collecting your jar of hearts, tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
And she will be loved, and she will be loved
What do you want from me? What do you want from me?
Can’t read my, can’t read my, no-one can read my pokerface
Come on Barbie, let’s go party
In the circle,
I can go the distance,
Strangers like me,
Part of your world

PS For the record: the music taste in our house is eclectic at best. Nothing is off limits. It’s part of our world.

PPS When I say the ‘young one’, he’s not too far off being a teenager, and there is an every so slight change in his lower register already

PPPS If you’re puzzled by some of the song combinations you might want to check out this link and this one, they might explain a lot


Pink Me

Early paper and ink quality wasn’t all that great and, unfortunately, when you’re looking at your old colour photographs from long(er) ago you’ll notice they’ve mostly turned a weird mush of yellows or pinks. They are likely otherwise undamaged, but the discolouration is usually not very pretty.

Like in this photo from my collection from the early 80s.

As I’m in the process of resorting and reprinting and digitizing all of our private photo albums, every now and then I’m tackling a few photos in Photoshop and fix them up.

Now, it sounds a bit easier than it is. With this particular photo I have the great advantage that I have a memory of this day. I remember it was taken just after the summer holidays, when a small pop up studio set up in the local mall. My mother used to take me there almost every year to get my portrait done and have the prints go to the grandparents as Christmas presents. It was a good idea to do it well before the festive craze (I know now where I’ve got that from) plus having portrait photos taken just after summer, before the long winter pale sets in.

So, I remember my then favourite top as being very pink, I also remember that I would have been quite tanned from many weeks at the Italian Riviera, with my hair going very light.

All this helped a lot when I set out fixing the colours in this image. There was no other damage, no cracks or weirdness, so it was really just about getting the colours right.

Obviously, this process is much harder when I don’t have a memory about the occasion. When restorating the colours in clients’ images it requires sometimes a bit of emailing back and forth, to get the exact tinge of a dress, of a flower bouquet, of the hair.

But for now, this ‘pink me’ is all good again.

PinkMe


Old Fashioned ?

During the January summer holidays I had finally tackled the long overdue clean-up of my studio. New props and backgrounds meant I was running out of space. Oh, the things I ‘found’.
If ever you see a person rummaging through the ‘sales’ box at the craft and art shop, that’ll be me. So many ideas and things to do and create! The kids and I have done lots of little and bigger projects over the years, but there was a backlog. There’s one thing I never run out, and that’s ideas.
As I had run out of space though, these ideas had to be put into action presto, to get some of the boxes empty and ready to take on new and different goodies.
Years and years ago I found this DIY Clock Set in said ‘sales’ box at the craft shop. I have a thing for clocks, and finally, I found a nice use for it.
I measured the wooden clock face and used Photoshop to create the background by incorporating the originals of some of my favourite digital restorations.
Once printed on normal A4 paper, I cut out the circle shape and glued it on the wooden clock face using ModPodge. Once it had dried, I used a paint sponge and gave it several thin layers of ModPodge, letting each dry completely before applying the next. Last was a thin layer of acrylic sealer, just to give it a bit of shine not too much, I’m not a huge fan of the big gloss.
Then the clock motor was put in (it runs on battery) and that was that. It sits on the sideboard in my office now and I like checking the time on this one much more than on my laptop or my phone. Call me old fashioned 🙂

RestorationClock


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.

ClassPhoto1

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.

ClassPhoto3

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.

ClassPhoto2


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 🙂

TramSize

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