They say time flies when you’re having fun, and that’s certainly the case for us at The Photo Restoration Center. We’re delighted to be celebrating 21 years of restoring old photos. A milestone like this can’t help but leave us feeling reflective. So, today we’re sharing some thoughts on the photo industry throughout that time, plus the stunning results of two of our most challenging restoration projects.
Changes in Photography
The Photo Restoration Center opened towards the end of the 1990s, at a time when people were starting to use digital cameras for domestic occasions. Until this point, there was a sense of magic and mystery to photography. People went on vacation with a point and shoot camera and a roll of film with 24-36 photos. On their return, there was no way of knowing what they’d captured and the excitement of seeing the developed pictures became like an extension of the trip.
Digital cameras largely replaced film cameras by the mid-2000s. Then, once phone cameras arrived, that saw the end of film. Now, people take photos in volume. Everything is snapped – from popular tourist spots to pets, plates of food and parties – and over 95 million photos are posted to Instagram each day.
What About the Old Photographs?
With the rise of digital photography came an increase in value for photographs taken between 1830 to 1980. Often during that time, there was only one or two photographs taken at significant family and newsworthy events. These images offer an insight into the life and culture of the time and are an important part of documenting our history. Not only has the financial value of an antique photograph increased, the emotional value is even higher.
Two Priceless Stories
We’ve completed many challenging projects over 21 years of restoring old photos. It’s the stories behind the picture that fascinate us, and have been an enduring highlight of our work.
Hays Family History
This incredible photograph shows members of the Hays family. It’s part of a wider genealogy project by a family member who is investigating their history in America. The picture is likely set in 1930s Oklahoma and shows his father sitting in the center of the group. He was later to become a decorated veteran, serving in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
We removed marks and fixed the faded color to create a restored image that gives clarity to their faces. The people come back to life as we now see their expressions, clothing and get an insight into how they spent that day. At least 80 years later, this photograph remains a part of the owner’s heritage and a piece of art history.
It was an honor to restore this stunning line up from the eighth Miss Universe Beauty Pageant in 1959. The imperfections add to the capture of the moment – not everyone is looking at the camera, but we can see how happy they are to be there.
It was the grandson of Miss Ecuador who contacted us to restore the photo as a gift for his grandmother, and we’re so glad he did. You can spot her smiling in the center of the front row. With so much detail in the picture, and significant damage to the original, this was a large and extremely challenging project. It was worth the effort.
Restoring Old Photos in 2018
Over 21 years, The Photo Restoration Center continues to grow. What started as a one-person venture, has turned into a team of expert artists. We each have an area of specialty, whether that be the texture of skin or the color of hair, and working together we can get the best result for every restoration project.
Technology has changed. We now have more tools to capture high-resolution images and enhanced software to work with. Yet, for a photo restoration project, software and fixing filters alone will leave real people looking artificial, like plastic dolls. Good judgment is vital to ensure a final image looks authentic. This human touch will always be key to what we do and is why our results are consistently effective.
Old photos mean so much to their owners, therefore each job must be treated with respect. We won’t take on a job unless we’re sure we can get a high-quality result and achieve the best for our customers. Our reward is the beautiful glimpses into history that their photos provide.
Thanks to everyone who has used our services over the years – not only for your business and trust in us, but also for sharing your precious stories and memories.