This is a picture of my grandmother that I have never met. She died at
the age of 41 when my dad was only 17. Many years of shuffling family members
and personal belongings around, because of her untimely death, was the
cause of this greatly deteriorated photograph. It was taken of her when
she was about three years old. I think that dates this photograph to the
year 1915. Held together with masking tape on the back and scotch tape
on the front my first impression of restoring it was not so hopeful. I
decided to work on it in my spare time. The key to such an undertaking
I knew was how well it was photographed and then how well it was scanned.
I photographed the print with my Sinar 4x5 view camera using Vericolor
160 professional film type S. Next I scanned the negative with my new Howtek
4500 drum scanner to get the very best in detail to work with. I needed
to destinguish between what were shadow areas from the creases in the dress
and what were stained areas due to age and improper storage. My Howtek
didn't fail me. I could easily see the difference between the two. Little
by little I erased the tape marks and replaced them with surrounding detail
of the image. Next I found a background of curtains from another old photograph
that I had worked on years before. The key is to use the same kind of items
from one photo to match that of the era of the new photo in hopes of
making the photograph believable. The box that she is standing on really
was what she was standing on in the original photograph.
The hours spent on this project was in the neighborhood of 20. I know for many of you this may seem too lengthy of a process and not worth the effort but to me preserving this memory of my grandmother is priceless. After the work was done I shot it back to Portra 160vc medium format film using my new Polaroid Propallete 8000 film recorder. And then back into the darkroom to print the final image. Click on the image to get the final result.