“Yes I’m sure I can do something to fix that for you”

A restoration nightmareYou know how sometimes you start to speak, and even as the words are coming out of your mouth you think: “What am I saying?”

Still you keep smiling confidently, knowing that a retraction at this stage would make you look silly. In any case, I enjoy a challenge!

This is exactly what happened two years ago today, when a lady brought in this badly damaged snap of herself as a child in the arms of her grandfather.

The damaged black and white print

At first it appeared a seemingly impossible task.  The face of the gentleman was completely missing and the damage to the rest of the image was extensive.

Then I noticed that the reason so much of the image was missing was that dampness had caused the emulsion to adhere to the inside of the plastic sleeve that the old black and white print had been kept in.

dampness had caused the emulsion to adhere to the inside of the plastic sleeveThe photo restoration project began by making separate high resolution scans of both the print and the plastic sleeve.  These images were then opened in Photoshop and carefully aligned as two layers in a single document.  Amazingly, this  restored approximately 95% of the missing detail, although the alignment was not precise due to the fact the original print and the plastic had expanded/contracted differently over the years.

The restored imageNevertheless, by using Photoshop’s extensive armoury of retouching tools, I was able to restore the image to pretty much its former glory.

Although it was a painstaking task, taking many hours of work to get right, there was great satisfaction is seeing both the finished result and the look on the customer’s face when she collected it!

Before and After
(click to enlarge)