Our photographs are some of the most precious things we have. They remind us of who we are, where we have been and the people, places and things that have meant so much to us.
They are our memories in visible form! They are captured moments in time that we can enjoy again and again.
As most of us have found, however, photographs do not last forever. Even the best cared for prints and slides fade out, get scratched, stained and torn or become otherwise damaged. The same thing is happening to wax and vinyl records, audio and video tapes and floppy disks. The problem is collectively referred to as "Data Rot".
There is a solution!
Although most people are aware of Photoshop and similar software, they do not consider the potential of it for their own collection of priceless photographs.
People tend to perceive of images that are “Photoshopped” as “tricks” that are used to make magazine cover-girls impossibly beautiful or to put people or things where they shouldn’t be in joke e-mails.
Look at the images to the right. The original photos in the before views are Tintypes from the early 1890's and are both 2 x 2 1/2 inches in size. As can be readily seen the first one is not only faded but heavily damaged and the second has fungus growing on it!
Unfortunately, these were the only existing photographs of these men... until now!
Not only were the "after" views enhanced by software programs, but a lot of the facial detail and tonality in the first example was literally drawn in through the use of a pressure sensitive electronic tablet and pen, as seen below.
As can also be readily seen, the quality of the original does make a difference.
Through the use of computer software like Photoshop and others, we can improve the quality of Nearly All compromised and/or damaged photos. In fact these images can, in many instances, be restored to LIKE NEW quality! The only exception is an out-of-focus image. Such images can sometimes be marginally improved upon, but this is usually unlikely and not worth the effort. Other than that, almost everything is “up for grabs”!