Improving on the Past

Turner Kids

Before and After Restoration

I’ve always loved old photographs. Both of my parents had plenty of old family pictures. I loved to pore over them and think about the lives of the people in them. Fortunately, my mom was very meticulous about labeling the pictures and even contacted other family members to help identify some. Needless to say, I ended up with the large bulk of these old photographs when we cleaned out our parents’ house many years ago.

Several years ago I started scanning the pictures, logging each one into a database, and cleaning up a few of them with the very minimal Photoshop skills I had at the time. Over about 5 years I scanned, identified (as best I could), logged, and cleaned up over 600 photographs, including ones from my husband’s family. By scanning the pictures it has been so much easier to share them with other family members via email, online galleries, a CD, or prints made from the scans.

Last year I started learning so much more about photo restoration and I hope to be able to even earn a little extra money by offering my services to others. I’m still learning, but am miles ahead of where I was when I started doing this years ago knowing nothing more than how to use the clone stamp.

The picture above is an example of one of my family photographs taken in Kansas in 1895. This is a favorite picture of mine; I think the kids are adorable. The young blonde guy at the back right is my grandfather. The picture is especially poignant because their father didn’t take responsibility for the family and their mother died in 1901, leaving the kids to either fend for themselves or be taken in by caring relatives.

At this size it’s hard to see all the restoration that was done other than the obvious tear running down the center. Besides the repair, I also added contrast, tried to bring out the detail in the girl’s dress, and “erased” the dark thumbprint on my grandfather’s face and jacket. Click on the picture to see the original in larger detail.

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1 Comment

Filed under Family History, Photo Restoration

One response to “Improving on the Past

  1. Beautiful restoration work. I have a lot of old family photographs too, and love to look at them. Sometimes a brief sentence or two can communicate so much about the people in a photograph. In this case, you’ve created a little story that helps me see into the lives of these children and care about them.

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