nezbitten's blog

Can an original photo be restored?

posted by nezbitten, Aug 20, 2009 6:18 AM — 3 comments

Original photos are made from layers. Old black and white photos were often made from fibre based paper. The base papers themselves would have been made in paper mills and the top coating of light sensitive chemical based sulphates called "baryta" was then added to produce the photographic paper. Once exposed to light and developed the positive image is embedded in the "baryta" or emulsion. If this top layer gets damaged there is no way to build up the layer and replace it. You cannot add wax or pen or ink, nothing comes close to the original emulsion. If some of the fibres of the paper have come away, then what? These cannot be replaced either, you cannot simply glue down new ones! Even if it were possible to put back a blank filler into the hole, there is no way to reproduce the grain structure that was there in the original, or the subtle tones and shading of the original photo.

The same goes for colour photos, the resin or solid polyester top coat cannot be replaced with anything, I cannot be built up and restored. If there was a way to do this that was commercially available, there would not be so many digital photo restoration companies offering their digital restoration services today!

Sorry but it is not good news if own a damaged photo and want the original restored.

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2. posted by nezbitten, Sep 14, 2009 6:25 AM

Thanks dlritter for adding some useful info to my post. It goes without saying if you just vist my blog http://www/ you will find everything your need to know about photo restoration and what can be done and what can not.

I hope this helps

3. posted by dlritter, Aug 20, 2009 6:01 PM

Physical restoration is usually not possible but image restoration is done quite frequently.

Some people do this badly others are very skilled in this art.

Missing sections of photos can be replaced, textures can be repeated. Creases and folds can be cloned out. Scratches can be erased.

This restoration, depending on the actual amount of images that was missing can be almost regarded as a new work of art or a painting in some cases. In other cases this editing is invisible to the viewer's eye when preformed by a truly skilled person.

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