Just a quick one to finish the week off. I’m doing a lot of re-touching at the moment, in fact each and every one of my wedding albums will have around 5-6 hours of subtle re-touching applied to make the pages absolutely perfect – and as a Yorkshire Wedding Photographer - I’m striving to achieve that perfection my clients every day. With it being the Christmas season, I’m also working on re-touching a number of old photos that my clients need restoring so they can be re-printed, framed and given as gifts. I’ve just finished the retouch on the image above and although it is by no means finished and/or perfect, I wanted to show what is possible. This is a photograph printed onto canvas and is around 100 years old.
My client didn’t hold out much hope for me being able to do anything with it, but I’m always up for a challenge. The piece really was in terrible shape and was held together with age-old masking tape with deep scores and tears throughout the whole piece. When approaching a restoration like this, the first thing to do is not panic! What I do is first assess the supplied artwork and break it down into 9 zones, I can then get a better undertstanding of what the sum of the parts might look like once retouched. This approach also allows me to give a client a pretty accurate estimate of time/cost involved to complete the job.
I knew this piece would be tough, but once I’d decided it would be possible, we went ahead and copy photographed the original canvas and produced a digital file of around 100mb. A Hassleblad camera with a Phase 1 digital back produces this unbelievably detailed file and to have so much data to work with is key to the success of the retouch. Once the image is loaded into Adobe Photoshop, it is then a case of using the whole gamut of retouching techniques to painstakingly repair the damage. I’ve still got a couple of hours worth of work to do on the image but I just wanted to share what can be done in the digital darkroom.