Sunday, 12 June 2011


My mum was going to a picnic today and she needed to take a picture of her younger self for a quiz. We found a suitable one eventually: neither too easy nor too hard.
All through my childhood I had to put up with friendsandrelations saying "Oh you look so like your mum!" and of course I accepted this, slightly resentfully, but without really having the faintest idea what they meant. So whilst I was rummaging for the quiz photo, I kept a weather eye out for a particular photo of her younger self that had made a deep impression on me. This photo was taken when she was about 15 and I must have been around the same age when I first saw it.  With a shock I realised what the friendsandrelations had been talking about. It was like looking in a mirror. I believe it was the intention at the time to throw it away, because it was in such poor condition, but I protested and I'm glad now that I did.
The left hand image is how it scanned, complete with ink stains and poor contrast due to fading - I suspect that in 1942 best quality materials were hard to come by. The right hand was an hour or so's work with Photofiltre: cloning, smudging and adjusting the contrast and colour to closer match the original  Fiddly but not at all difficult really.
Only when I'd finished did I remember that not so very long ago we paid a photographer to copy another family photo of which we are very fond  It was quite expensive and the photographer had had no 'repairs' to make like those above. In a very short time restoration like this has become commonplace - no darkroom and no highly skilled manipulation of complex equipment, just a fairly ordinary desktop computer, a printer/scanner and some free software.
Perhaps I'll make a start on my Father's photos of India that I loved as a child... oh yes and that one of him naked on a bearskin rug...