Thursday, 1 October 2009

Faded Photo

Soldiers from Hull on parade, taken just before the First World War

Of all the jobs i have to do as a pro photographer, the one that continues to fascinate me are the old photograph collections that I'm often given to repair or copy. Over the last few years, more and more people have started to look into their family tree, no doubt encouraged by easy access to records on the Internet and popular TV programmes like the BBC's 'Who do you think you are'.

Last week, an especially lovely collection of old Victorian and Edwardian photographs, including the photograph above, came in from a client searching his family tree. The image quality of these old photographs was remarkable. Many were nearing or over 100 years old, and yet the faces still looked fresh and full of character. Several of the photographs were designed to be sent as postcards. A final message home before they encountered the horrors of the trenches.

One of the saddest photographs i dealt with featured a nervous looking young sailor, obviously not keen on having his photograph taken in the studio, who lasted just a matter of weeks at the front before being killed. Written on the postcard back was a message to his sister saying that he was fine and everything was OK. Handling a photograph like that is a privilege. It's great to think that with a little work in Photoshop, photographs, like that of the doomed sailor, will survive well into the 21st century.

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