You’ll have to forgive my brief detour into photo restoration; it’s always been a fascination of mine. While coloring Grandpa’s photo the other day, I wondered if I could subtly add detail to photos, or even restore damaged photos, by painting.
This photo of Tata (my other grandfather) is from the 1920s–a detail of a group shot of his middle school graduation. It’s not damaged, but there’s not a lot of detail in the faces. So tonight I did some experimenting. First, I painted a minimal amount of detail, using a clearer photo as a reference. Then I blended it into the original photo by adding some grain and reducing the opacity of my strokes a bit.
What I like about it is that when viewed from a distance at actual size (as with a typical framed photo), it looks about the same as the original. But if you examine it closer, there’s a little more detail and expression.
Next, I’d like to try an actual damaged photo; you know, one of those where important bits are completely missing and need to be painted back in.