Morris Porter (baby) with grandmother Nola (Morris) Wells Jackson.
It doesn’t take much for a family historian to scream. We get excited with every find of a new ancestor, with every little hint to locating the needed historical document, and meeting faraway cousins - all screams of joy, usually followed by our “happy dance.” But we scream the loudest, and of horror, when we pull out that favorite old photo of the sod house, or of a pivotal ancestor and we realize it is fading, and what is left are clear marks of years of abuse. Time to search for solutions to save our family history, and preserve the places and faces for future generations. So what to expect?
- Goal 1 was to bring life back into the photo
- Goal 2 was to display my ancestors on the walls of my 1904 home. (Thought they’d feel comfortable there.)
- Goal 3 was to preserve the original photo. I was welcoming the thought of less hand touching and exposure to the elements, while still sharing with cousins who clearly have the propensity to touch every detail of the original photo in between licking their fingers dripping of Kansas City Barbeque sauce.
The mission statement of the business is “helping restore your memories”. I restore and repair damaged and faded photographs that are either historically or emotionally important to someone.
Photofixerjoe legally started as a business in 2011. However, my education in the darkroom and printing process began 40 years ago when I built my first in home darkroom. I am a huge fan of Ansel Adams and read somewhere that he tweaked his photograph “Moonrise over Hernandez” for about 10 years before he was fully satisfied with his print. I was really curious about what he would have tweaked for 10 years and that began the journey of “manipulating” images.
My target markets are individuals and organizations that are serious about restoring their memories and understand the level of effort involved in this process. It requires an in depth knowledge of whatever software you are using and a lot of patience. The photograph of your family living in the home built from mud took about 20 to 25 hours to restore.
I purchased my first digital camera about 12 years ago. It was 3.2 megapixel and I paid close to $1,000. I think you can get one of those as a gift with a gas fill up nowadays. I needed to process my own prints and purchased the Photoshop 5.0 software. We are now on Photoshop 13 (CS 6). The software was designed with the darkroom process in mind but with greater flexibility. I had fun with changing people’s hair color, adding hair to my friends that didn’t have it and adding other elements into the picture that were not present in the original image. It evolved from doing silly things to making minor repairs.
Q6. What has been the hardest project and what made it so hard?
My hardest project has been the restoration of a damaged picture of a woman, when she was a young girl, with Elvis Presley. Besides the damage, the colors were faded and it was a small snapshot. I knew what a great memory this was for the woman and trying to get the image closer to her memory of the moment was a challenge but I made it happen. I really felt great about her reaction.
Pricing depends on the level of effort. It does not take a lot of time to restore a color faded photo from the fifties (how about that for alliteration). If that is all that is involved I would charge $25 and included is a small digital file for social media use and a large digital file for printing purposes. Simple restorations would be anywhere from $50 to $100. For example, your photo with the woman and infant would be right at $100 or maybe just slightly higher. Extensively damaged photos would need to be quoted. All quotes would be provided after I scan the image. Damage that is not visible on smaller prints shows up on the enlarged scan. You can request a custom printed file on high quality paper all the way up to 17 X 22 for an additional charge. Actually, I can print a wall sized mural that would be made up of 17 X 22 segments. Prices are posted at www.photfixerjoe.com.
I will share additional restorations April 2013.