Category Archives: Retouching

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 🙂

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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

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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


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


Action Plan – One

So it has happened. Because of a sad family loss or other tragic circumstances beyond your control you ended up being in possession of a shoebox full of old photos and documents.

You’ve looked through them. Faces, places, stories, that may be familiar to you. And very likely, you come to realize that this is a puzzle with a lot of missing pieces. That’s what I thought when I ended up with lots of photos of my Grandmother from when she was young. I certainly recognized her, but who were the people in the photos with her? Why were they laughing? Where was this taken?

The documents you inherit may be old, fragile. The photos may be damaged, ripped, stained, moldy.

You’re thinking: “What on earth am I going to do with all this?”

First thing: Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. It happens all the time.

This post will be the first of a few that should help you get enough advice to get an idea of what may be involved in the process of assessing and storing old photos and documents.

In my experience, there are three categories of photos and documents:

1. They have no value other than that of the personal/sentimental kind, as it would be for family history. Their damage is minor, there is no mold present. The primary focus should be on getting them digitized, photos sorted and labeled and documents transcribed. This will ensure that should they deteriorate further or get lost, you have saved them for the family. Digitizing also means that you can share them with family that might not be living close by you. Sharing files online is an awesome advantage of our digital age. Once digitized, sorted and transcribed, the originals need to be stored correctly.

2. If you suspect the photos or documents to have collector’s value, you may want to get an appraisal for them. If their value is minor, you don’t intend to handle them much but still want to keep them save, you might want to follow the steps above. If their value is substantial and the plan is to handle them frequently, I strongly suggest you consult a conservator.

3. The whole lot is moldy and smells. This is a health hazard. I hope you were wearing a particle mask and gloves while flicking through them! Keep the moldy stuff well away from anything else, before it contaminates everything in its surroundings, and please consult a professional conservator ASAP.

Understand this: Photographs will fade over time, no matter what you do. Paper will deteriorate, no matter what you do. But you can slow down the process by avoiding their exposure to light, heat, humidity and pollution.

The photo below shows some snippets from a collection of about 20 letters from WW1, that I had the great honour of digitizing recently. This involved preparation of the previously folded letters for photographing, by carefully flattening crushed edges and pressing them overnight between acid-free sheets of paper, building a suitable document stand with a large white background, photographing them by daylight, without direct sun and no flash or any other artificial lighting sources. They were in very good condition so only needed some basic digital retouching to increase contrast and enhance the faded ink. Lastly they were all saved on a USB thumb drive, for their owner to share with the family.

One hundred year old letters. It was very moving to read what young men so long ago wrote home to their families.

So if you’re tempted to just shove that shoebox back into the back of the closet: don’t. It’s someone’s history. Treat it right.

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Going Market

It had been planned for some time but now finally it happened: az pictured went market.

Going to a local market or art fair is not as easy as it was many years ago when I was selling my paintings or even earlier still, when as a child I sold my toys at flea markets. So much more complicated these days, let me tell you!

First, one needs to apply. Insurance and all the paperwork and some enticing photos of your products need to be ready to be shown and, once accepted, contracts and agreements need to be signed, and rules to be obeyed and fees to be paid and things to be remembered.

And then the stall needs to be thought through, and stuff bought and printed and organized. And then all the products you intend to sell need to be bought and printed and organized.

We did a few dry runs in the back yard, to set up the marquee, tables and all (this was very important as I am so not a morning person, and to be problem solving at 6am is not my strong side!!). So when the big day came, everything went wonderfully smooth.

The organizing ladies from the 3 Peas Markets are wonderfully inviting and friendly, and the atmosphere was lovely. This cannot be underestimated. Market days are long, long days. Very few stalls can claim to be busy for 6 hours, just selling, selling, selling. There are potentially long dead times in between. Things have got to be nice, otherwise it’s just too grueling (very happy about the mozzy spray that was shared around – who would have thought there would be that much blood lust at 6am?)

All in all it went very well. I had a chat about all aspects of az pictured with a great many people who stopped by. I got to show the brag books with my works, especially the Restorations seem to be a success. I am reasonably happy with the sales. The market had strong competition with two other major events on that day, which drew a lot of customers away. I handed out what feels like a gazillion of leaflets and flyers and business cards (and kept reminding customers that Mother’s Day is in 9 weeks!!!), and as a result my website and facebook hits spiked like crazy, and inquiries and bookings have been made in the last couple of days as well. Yay.

Thanks to everyone who knows me and was able to come, it is very lovely to see a familiar face, you have no idea how much your support is appreciated  🙂  And if you missed it, the next market will be Sunday April 13th.

To see more visit my website or facebook page.

GoingMarket


Bride & Groom

800×600

This 40 year old wedding photo had spent considerable time in a frame. The part of the photo that was exposed to light turned slightly yellow. The part that was hidden under the frame kept its original colours much better. You can see the change in colour best on the grooms arm.

A very good photo, I might add. Perfect lighting, whoever the photographer was, this was a job very well done.

As the original came to me already scanned, as usual there was a lot of dust, especially visible on the grooms blue suit. By now you’ll know that I’m good at dusting in Photoshop 😉

To fix the colours was quite a bit of work, as the skin hues of the bride and the groom are naturally very different. I had to work on them separately and it took some tweaking till I was happy.Now it’s all brought back to its former glory. I hope the original stays safely in an album this time, and only a copy is being displayed.

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Badabim Badaboom, Fishing Rod Gone

The world LOVES taking photos. And with mobile phones and digital cameras it is easier than ever to snap away at whatever we see whenenver and wherever we see it. It is greatly liberating to be able to capture whatever we want to  just like that. And if the photo didn’t turn out too great we can just delete it at the end of the day. Awesome. But sometimes a photo doesn’t need to be deleted just because it is not quite perfect. Yes, digital retouching has such a bad reputation. But if used the right way and with respect it’s a kind of magic. And it doesn’t mean turning people into plastic. This is when this photo comes in. Taken on a beautiful day, capturing a relaxed, happy moment – if not for the darn fishing rod! I removed it with a lot of patience using all the usual tools in Photoshop, taking especially good care of the eye/nose/mouth area. A little punch in the colours and a crop and slight tilt completed this task. Now it does the special memories made on this beautiful day justice.

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