Started Feb 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
John King
John King Forum Pro • Posts: 14,941
Re: Fading colours

mlewan wrote:

John King wrote:

Ideally, all photographs should be kept under Arrhenius dark storage (Google this phrase for many references - e.g. conditions. That is to say, in an acid free album, away from household pollutants.

Interesting, John. I often wondered if one theoretically could get back the original colours of old photographs by adjusting them in Photoshop.

I've also tried doing this, and have a friend (lives about 500 miles away ... ) who does a fair bit of restoration/recovery work. Certainly beyond me!
In the Olympus world, we are somewhat spoiled for this, as I have almost never used any of Photoshop's many tools for adjusting colour. In my workflow, I tend to tweak the WB in ACR; tweak the exposure etc if necessary; take the image into PS; up-res to size; USM to taste; print.

From the link you gave there, it seems to be impossible to fully automate such a task. If I understand it correctly, some colours simply blend into each other completely, and details may disappear in the process.

I can vouch for that!

On the other hand, there are some really old manuscripts that have kept their colours remarkably well. Perhaps I should get a medieval scribe to document the next wedding.

If you read some books on colour in painting, the answer lies there. I can recommend Philip Ball's "Bright Earth, The Invention of Colour". Very readable, and covers a lot of the history of the use of pigments in paintings, frescoes, etc.

Most manuscripts (e.g. The Book of Kells) are not normally exposed to light either. Thus equate to Arrhenius dark storage conditions. This vastly increases life span and colour correctness, even if the materials are not ideal. They often aren't, because of cost.

Those of us who print our own prints can vouch for the latter! Inkjet inks seem to cost more than liquid Platinum ...

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Regards, john from Melbourne, Australia.

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