This is the last post in my series of Faded Memories. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been together for thirteen weeks! I am thankful to Appalachian Memory Keepers for allowing me the opportunity to share some pointers on keeping your photographic history intact. I sincerely hope that you enjoyed my short stories and images. Thank you all for your kind remarks, loves, likes, and thumbs up! I was wondering what images to show you on this last installment and the stories behind the images. There was so much that I wanted to share that I grabbed a few of my favorite ‘everyday’ pictures.
DISAPPEARING CHILDREN – This image was of my customer riding her tricycle with her cousins and their grandfather. My customer only wanted an image of herself and her grandfather. I will apologize off the bat that the final image is grainy, but when you try to enlarge an image bigger than it’s meant to be that’s what you get.
TINY DANCER – This little girl was not really old enough to stand up for her photograph. You can tell in the original image that her feet and hands are blurred. Back when this photograph was taken you had to stand still for sometimes as long as twenty seconds! I scanned the image and began work. The background wall paper was replaced and her dress was given more detail. Her feet were refined. Her feet and parts of her arm were replaced. Her expression showed her surprise of beginning to fall so I changed her expression somewhat to a more relaxed one.
CALENDAR KIDS – I remember the beautiful images that used to be on calendars when I was young. My dad had a business and it was a big family discussion to decide on which images my dad’s customers would look at for a whole year. This calendar is from a business located in Edgefield, SC. If you look closely in the upper right corner you will see where W H Powell manufactured wheels and bragged that they could repair “all kinds of Wheel Vehicles from Wheelbarrows to Locomotive Engines – Horseshoeing a Specialty.” The calendar had many cracks. Several pieces of it were missing and the color had faded over the years.
DAD’S WHOLE WORLD – The original image was stained and cracked but it showed a father with his four boys climbing all over him. We all thought our dads were the strongest men in the world when we were growing up – this man may have been!
THE MAN IN THE STRIPED SHIRT – A customer brought this image to the studio in hopes of being able to identify the man in the photograph. Time and poor storage had significantly damaged this image. I was able to get some of the details from the original – enough so that my customer’s question of who was in the photograph was answered. This image is not finished. It will take several more hours of work before I am satisfied with the restoration.
PROUD OF MY PORCH FLOWERS – I’m sure a lot of you remember your grandmother’s house. The front porch was a main feature of many houses and you were very lucky to have a ‘wrap-around’ porch. Women of the house enjoyed growing plants and decorating their porches with them. They would trade ‘cuttings’ with neighbors and friends too. I remember that once my mother wanted a piece of her sister’s Thanksgiving cactus but Aunt Louise was a little grumpy and would not give mom a cutting….so one day, when Aunt Louise wasn’t looking, my mom snatched a small piece of one of the long cactus arms and brought it home. My mom babied that plant until it was huge and bloomed from Thanksgiving through Christmas each year. We named mom’s plant Louise. The lady in the image was happy to show off her porch plants. The original had been folded, creased and had lost a lot of detail.
AUNT DELIAH – This image was originally 16×20 on canvas. The canvas did not have a lot of damage but my customer wanted me to restore and colorize the image. I scanned in parts of the original and recreated the image. Color sometimes adds to the image. Colorization of images or parts of images has been done for many years. I have seen tintypes with color accents on the cheeks of people and their jewelry.
A DAY AT THE BEACH – This is another example of bringing new life into old pictures. My customer is the ‘now grown’ little girl with pigtails. This image was enlarged and color was added. It is now proudly displayed in the customer’s lake house.
SWEET AUNT MAGGIE – This is a tintype and there was very little damage to it. The face had a hint of pink as the original had been color enhanced when produced. She reminds me of my grandmother – sweet face, hair pulled back in a braided knot on the back of her head, wearing an apron. She looks like she just finished putting an apple pie in the old wood burning oven.
Most images will begin to fade after time – some more than others. The best advice I can offer you on protecting your old images is to keep them in an atmosphere that you would enjoy – cool (but not too cool), dry (but not too dry as to cause them to be brittle), out of bright lights, clean and free of pests and mold.
I have enjoyed talking with all of you these past weeks and as my favorite old TV show folks would say . . . HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU!