lady had been ill for some time, and following her funeral, her
relatives wanted a memorial photo depicting her at her best, though
not unnaturally so. A picture of her thirty years younger would
not have been relevant in this case.
commission highlighted a common problem in modern life - Families
today tend to never think of having a professional photo portrait
taken of themselves until it is often too late. What survives
of too many people's lives is, sadly, only blurred amateur snapshots,
and worse, usually only group shots, where the individual person
is almost too small to be recognised. This original photo is a
typical case - The lady herself was only one of a group of people
sitting on a park bench. With the shot taken from rather too far
away, it was difficult to isolate only one figure in the picture
and enlarge it without blurring - A special and sensitive challenge
the way, if at any time you decide you would like a professional
photographic portrait taken of yourself or your loved ones, you
can simply contact us at PhotoAltering.co.uk and we will arrange
a local representative photographer to contact you to fulfil your
portrait wishes -
Remember: Good altered photos begin with good original ones...
produce the new version above, we first scanned the snapshot at
very high resolution. It is always best to provide us with the
original negatives if possible, but in most cases we can salvage
a fair copy from the original print, and we managed okay in this
task was to make her look healthier, but not unrealistically younger.
There are subtle changes which take place in the human face with
age, some noticeable only to the artist's eye - Thus it was these
subtle changes that we dealt with primarily. For instance, we
very slightly strengthened the lady's jawline and also minutely
lengthened her chin. Then we added 'catchlight' sparkles in her
eyes to make her appear more youthfully alert. It would have been
wrong to eradicate her wrinkles completely - She would have looked
'rubbed out' and artificial, so instead we merely softened the
lines in her face.
could even have added earrings, but decided against it - The family
told us she did not normally wear them. All these alterations
combined to naturally restore something of the lady's alert vigour
before her terminal illness, which is how her family remember
her best. Finally, we gave her a slight suntan (as she lived in
a Mediterranean environment, this alteration was not inappropriate)
and sharpened the focus.
in the tradition of half a century ago, this family did take the
trouble to have a formal portrait taken of themelves, giving us
digital photo alterers in the 21st Century something better to
work with. However, the picture does not appear to have been taken
by a professional - Notice how it is slewed at an angle, and out
of focus - You can just make out the wavy-cut line along the bottom
where this photo was converted into a postcard, a popular format
in the early 20th Century. This also means it was printed on good
quality paper, which has doubtless assisted in its preservation.
However, it has still faded with age.
the way, the woman in this picture is the same one as in the colour
photo above. The background and setting is uninspiring, although
perhaps it has sentimental value - Viewed in historical context,
this appears to be one of the first new housing developments during
Italy's vigorous financial rebuilding of itself following World
War 2. Perhaps, after the ravages of war and and an austere standard
of living in the postwar period, this family is now reunited and
with new-found prosperity has just moved into one of those new
flats in the background, so there is a subtext of optimism and
hope in the picture as they stand together on this building site
on a chilly but sunny late autumn afternoon in early 1950's Italy.
are the magical moments that snapshots can often capture - Moments
which may sometimes seem so ordinary and dull at the time but
in fact, when pieced together with failing but not forgotten memories
can bring a family's history back to life with graphic poignancy.
Time and money spent on discovering and restoring old photograhs
is well worth the investment - It can give us a surer sense of
our own identity, a sense of time and place - a sense of value,
a sense of 'me'...
we decided not to cut the people out and stick them into a new
or artificially beautiful background - The magic of the picture
at a personal level may have been lost if we had. Such decisions
are all part of PhotoAltering.co.uk's job - to sensitively consider
the mood and historical value of the original picture, and also
of course, according to the clients' wishes.
wasn't much improvement we could make to this picture - It was
simply a clean-up and sharpen operation in black and white. The
original snapshot was out of focus, so could not be sharpened
much. However, we straightened it up, boosted the contrast, and
then had to rebuild the ground around the youngest boy's feet
following the straightening process, otherwise there would have
been a white triangle of empty space at one side. Such are the
complications of even a simple restoration job like this. We also
painted in the scratches and white dust spots which can be found
on most old photographs needing repair.
could have sepia-toned it, to give that old fashioned 'brown'
look, but felt that this would have been inappropriate. Sepia
is a characteristic of the very early 20th century and is best
left for artistic effects in more posed portraits. This picture
is more of a documentary shot and is best left as not looking
any older than it already is.
course, even with a relatively simple picture restoration job
such as this, the added bonus is that we at PhotoAltering.co.uk
produce a new electronic version of the old picture which can
be can duplicated in any number of copies, printed at almost any
size, and distributed anywhere. We printed four copies of this
restored photograph which the client then sent to each of the
woman's four sons in the picture - They are still alive and live
in four different far-flung corners of the globe.