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.