Fun with family photos (WARNING! Long post-56K killer!)

Discussion in 'General Gallery' started by terri, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Warning #2 – extremely self-indulgent post! :lol: You’ve been warned!

    My mother likes giving me old family photos to scan, repair in PS and hand color for her. I’ve been doing it for some time now. This year when she came to visit she actually brought me a couple negatives. I was excited until I realized they’re copy negatives, and not very good quality, at that. But, it gave me a chance to play with dual developing. I printed these in Selectol Soft for about 1.5 minutes, since I’d read it’s a great developer to open shadows, then another minute in Dektol to add some contrast.

    My ancestors are from the hills of Missouri; they were country people, born and bred. The subject of my project here is my maternal grandmother; she appears in all 3 of these images in varying stages of her life, and I find it fascinating to think about who she was and where she came from.

    This first image is just scanned from an old photo, cleaned up in PS, converted to B&W and hand colored on special inkjet paper. The woman is my great-grandmother Ruth, who no doubt bullied the kids into putting on their Sunday best and sitting outside the house for this portrait. Great-Grandpa Joe pulled on his clean overalls; maybe the nicest thing he owned. I have a vision of the boys ripping those ties off as soon as the photographer was done, so they could get back to the creek or the woods – or the chores. ;) This picture I am placing at circa 1915-17. My grandmother is the little girl in the front.

    [​IMG]



    I printed this next image as is, so all the damage from the original print shows from this copy negative. Here is Grandma as a young woman. She had already snagged Grandpa, and on this day, the story is, they were driving around the back roads with unknown friends (it isn’t their car) who took this picture. I like to think it’s an old Brownie shot. :) Grandma was still dirt-poor, as is evidenced by the dumpy sack dress and those knitted stockings. They had so little. As I was telling someone the other day, I like to think about this image when, say, I’m stuck in traffic or bitching that my cell phone can’t get a good signal. Keeps me grounded, somehow. :) They were married on Christmas Eve.



    The obligatory sepia-toned image:
    [​IMG]


    The hand colored version (for my mom):
    [​IMG]


    This one is a studio image, and appears very blown out. There is little detail in Grandpa’s face and the baby’s outfit, and the negative shows all the damage from the original print. Here, Grandma is all grown up, a married woman with a baby. She is styling here, and no doubt feels very wealthy compared to her former status. :razz: Note the careful flapper hairdo, the silk dress, gold watch, and her shining silk stockings. Circa 1928-9? The baby is my mother.



    The obligatory sepia-toned image:
    [​IMG]


    The hand colored version (for my mom):

    [​IMG]



    Like I said, a very self-indulgent post from a personal project. ;) Thanks for looking.
     
  2. ShutteredEye

    ShutteredEye TPF Noob!

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    Way cool Terri! They look great! Very 1900s!!
     
  3. sfaribault

    sfaribault TPF Noob!

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    The old family history pictures are great..

    Steve
     
  4. Karalee

    Karalee hOtLiPs!

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    Wow Terri, your grandma was a babe :mrgreen: I love the hand coloring job you've done on the studio shot. Your mom must/is going to adore these! Even in the second bunch of pictures with your grandma and grandpa, you can see her cheeky little grin :lol: it makes me laugh, she looks like she would have been quite the lady.

    I love seeing old time pictures, I have a few of my own family, so now Im thinking of trying something like this. Its so cool to be able to see your grandparents/great granparents in this kind of a light, cos its like seeing a totally different person to who you know or have heard of.

    Thanks for sharing :blushing:
     
  5. Mansi

    Mansi TPF Noob!

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    WOW that is some history you've just shared with us!
    great job... :thumbsup: nice work :)
     
  6. Chiller

    Chiller Mental case

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    Very cool and amazing Terri. Awesome work. !!!
     
  7. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks so much, guys. :)

    Karalee, this kind of work is time consuming, but I found it very enjoyable. Really gets you in tune with people from another place and time - you're exactly right. :heart: If you get started and need some tips, gimme a shout. It's very possible to do most of this with scanned prints; it's printing them out for hand coloring that gets challenging.

    Thanks for the kind words, all! :D
     
  8. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    No need to apologise for being "self-indulgent". This really is something you can show off. How I admire you for these hand-coloured photos. One question that came to my mind upon looking at the last one with your mother being a baby in it: do you just think the colours up or does anything give you a hint that your grandmother's dress was this dark, silky green and your mom was clad in yellow (for example)? This is someone totally and utterly ignorant asking, so please bear with me...
     
  9. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Not a problem, LaFoto; it's actually a really good question. :) Hand coloring is something to be studied before you plunge right in. It helps to have a working knowledge of basic color theory, and for certain images even a color wheel nearby. I like to mix a lot of my own colors as I go, so you need to have an idea of what will work.

    For the image you're asking about....hard to explain. I looked at that dress and just knew it had to be green silk. And red is the opposite of green on the color wheel, so that answered the carpet. The baby's outfit is blown, very little detail, so choosing a warm color seemed appropriate since I knew it would be a blob of color in the finished product. :lol:

    Other little rules take care of certain details....warm colors advance, cool colors recede, so you'll note the foreground of the image is all warm-toned with cooler colors mid-way. I do sit and study each image before I get going, to let it sort of come to me.... another type of previsualization, maybe?

    The crazy backdrop is half the reason I had to paint this image, anyway.... the stuff they used back then just cracks me up! :D

    Thanks again for commenting.
     
  10. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Dang Woman, you are way to talented! These are beautiful. My aunt had some hand colored photos in her house, and when I was a kid, I would just sit and stare at them for the longest time because they were so beautiful. Your family photos that you have hand colored remind me so much of that. You probably didn't know it while you were doing it, but some little kid is going to walk through your mother's house and fall in love with those photos. I'd love to learn how to do something like that, but I probably don't have the patience required, not to mention the talent. So beautiful Terri. I just love looking at your work.
     
  11. M @ k o

    M @ k o TPF Noob!

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    I just love photos like this. They look sure pure. Great work and thx for posting them.
     
  12. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Wow! Thank you, Cindy. Hey, I firmly believe that if I can do something, anyone can, ;) so I doubt you'd have much diffculty if you put your mind to it. Thanks again. :)
     

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