Thursday, June 02, 2016


While an actual motorcycle is the most widely understood subject of a 'restoration', in truth far more cosmetic work is performed on photographs of old motorcycles than on actual machines today. Digital media workers spend hours clarifying the information from rough old photographs - it's unsung work, done every day, by people like me.  Every photo - even digital - is raw material to be shaped for particular impact; to expose technical details, establish a mood, emphasize action, or separate a machine from its background.  Vintagent reader Marco Bakker sent this short film of his 'restoration' of a 1913 FN four-cylinder, from venerable arms manufacturer Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre in Herstal, Belgium.   The photograph was taken in 1917, with its owner Jan Lodewijk van Bekkum and his sons, taken in Giessendam, Holland.  As Marco says, "Photoshop is the workshop."

I reckon this time-lapse Photoshop journey would take 3 or 4 hours in real time, which is typical for restoring a lightly damaged photograph.  There's no magic button to press which makes creases, water stains, and dirt spots disappear, just a lot of skilled, detailed work.  The result is a vastly more readable photograph, which is a pleasure to share.  


Grandpa Jimbo said...

At last, someone who understands that it's not like Kodak, "you push the button, we do the rest". I had one physicist who wanted me to enlarge the photo in one direction and reduce it in the other. On my copy camera. Obviously a failure in Optics 101.

GuitarSlinger said...

One of the few times when Digital proves its worth . The ' restoration ' of old photographs and film . I had a professional digital restorer bring back to life a well worn press photo of my grandfather on his brand new H-D sidecar rig from 1926 complete with R-W&B bunting [ during Memorial Day parade ] and the final results [ which I may or may not of sent you a copy of Paul ] were amazing . So thanks for this film showing all the hoops that restorer had to jump thru to get to the end result

M_Sharp said...

Excellent video, thanks for sharing. "3 or 4 hours in real time" sounds about right for a skilled retoucher.