New online archive features rare African photos

 

100,000 original Black and white negatives, dating back from 1940’s, of Mali’s most famous photographers, will be digitised using a $300,000 National endowment for the Humanities grant.

The archive features family portraits and photos of military activities, diplomatic visits, political events, national monuments, architecture, cultural and religious ceremonies and other aspects of popular culture.

Candace keller, assistant professor of African art history and visual culture, is collaborating with MSU’s MATRIX: The centre for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences and the Maison Africaine de la Photographie in Bamako, Mali, to create the Archive of Malian Photography by digitising and restoring the negatives thereby protecting them from further damage.

Access will be provided only to the low-resolution photos making them unusable in print but still useful for research and scholarship and protecting photos from further exploitation. “These photos have the potential to shape the way photographic history and cultural practice in West Africa are taught and studied since the concepts displayed go beyond what we’re used to seeing: village-based lifestyles,” said Keller.

Keller’s current two-year project is the second phase of the Archive of Malian Photography project. She and her team have already digitised 28,000 Malian photos using a grant from the British Library Endangered Archives Programme.

 

Negatives from Malian photographer Abdourahmane Sakaly’s collection being processed for Michigan State University’s Archive of Malian Photography.
Negatives from Malian photographer Abdourahmane Sakaly’s collection being processed for Michigan State University’s Archive of Malian Photography.

Courtesy: Michigan State University

Learn How To Effectively Take Care and Clean Your Old Photographs

Today, most people love to take photographs of everything that they do. Some have even made it a routine to take photos on every occasion. This is possible due to the advent of digital photography and low cost mobile phones with built-in cameras. Technology also enables us to secure these memories by automatically saving these photographs onto cloud, SD Card and Hard Disk. But, what about those photographs that were taken before the digital photography came into existence? In all probability, these photographs are stored in some shoe boxes and stacked away in the cup boards. But are you aware that these photographs get deteriorated over time due to moisture, dust and humidity? There is a real need to handle these photographs effectively as major part of our lives precious moments were captured in analog format and we can’t let them just slip away.

Listed below are the steps on how you can take care of your analog pictures:

  1. Handle with care.
  2. Keep these photographs in non-dusty and non-humid areas.
  3. Avoid touching their surface directly. As much as possible hold them by their edges.
  4. Wear fine cotton gloves if you need to hold the surface of the photos.
  5. Don’t ever write or put any mark at the back of the photographs.
  6. Use a soft pencil if it is really necessary to make a temporary identification on the photo.

Despite of all these, analog photographs go through a natural aging process due to chemical reactions. Colors start fading away, scratches appear on the photos, and the photos become too fragile to handle. So, the best way to preserve these memories is through digitization of these photographs. Digitization will enable you to convert these photographs into a high quality digital format and then preserve them onto cloud, DVDs or in your hard disk.

If you are looking for assistance in the digitization of your photographs, we are there to help you. ScanCorner is a professional photo and video digitization company that not only scans but also restores the photographs to retain their old glory. Please visit www.scancorner.co.uk for more information.

Learn the Wonders of Manual Photo Restoration

Photo restoration is a creative process that is being used to repair old photos as well as to restore photographs that have been damaged. In older times, the restoration of old photos would need a lot of skills from professionals, but today, since computers and sophisticated software have been invented, restoring and retouching photos are now a little more easy to do. Practically, anybody with basic knowledge in using the computer can do blemish and scratch removal from old photos. You might even be able to restore vibrant colors of the original pictures.

Basically, people would want to retouch photos which have dim lighting or if someone in the picture has glowing bright red eyes. Most computers nowadays have digital photo restoration software installed which enables users to do these photo touch-ups. Even amateurs are capable of restoring digital photographs in just a matter of minutes just by choosing the “quick fix” option as well as tweaking the results, when necessary.

Yet, there are some photographs that require the help of a professional when restoring them, but when the need arises you need not panic; most graphic artists are very skilled in restoring photos. A good graphic artist is capable of retouching photographs, he or she can remove people from the shot that you would want to get erased. The graphic artist may also be able to add natural-looking colors to a black and white photo.

The technique that most professional graphic artists use in retouching photos is called airbrushing which can soften skin tones as well as remove wrinkles and blemishes in a photographic portrait. A professional photo restoration job would be able to make a model look tanner, thinner, bustier. The artist may also change the models eye color.

Photo_Restauration_Before_SC Photo_Restauration_After_SC

Example of Photo Restoration (before and after restoration by ScanCorner)

There are some graphic artists who specialize in working on difficult photo restoration projects, which include photos with large portions that are damaged or missing (see e.g. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/373376625326394068/). In such instance, the artist will first scan the damaged photo in order to create a digital copy in jpeg format. He or she will then use professional software, which include PhotoShop®, Adobe Illustrator® and Adobe®, to enhance the faded or damaged areas as well as remove blemishes. Once the restoration is completed, the photo will then be printed on a photography paper in an improved state. The damaged photo will be returned to the client.

There are old pictures that hold sentimental value to the owner that a digital picture cannot replace. In such cases, photo restoration experts use manual techniques in order to restore the old photo directly. Most fine art galleries hire these kinds of photo restoration experts in order to restore antique photographs and tintypes.

The manual process is very hard to do and it usually takes a lot of time. The first step involves the careful cleaning of the photo as well as patching of any torn area. Then the paper will be pressed for a period of time in order to reduce the appearance of creases and cracks. After which, the damaged portions will be retouched using a fine painter’s hand with special attention given to the original color and lighting to be matched.  Given this extensive process, a photo restorer may be able to create significant improvement on the old photo depending on the damage that it has incurred overtime.

If you some old photos which you want to get digitized or scanned or restored yet you do not have the time and the software to do it yourself, feel free to check out ScanCorners’ professional artists and the services that they offer.

Just send your request to info@scancorner.com.au.