Everything old is new again... except bell-bottom jeans
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved black and white images, even in music videos. I can remember as far back as 1987, when I’m 13 years old and I’m reading my favourite wrestling and music magazines. I would just gaze at all the images, admiring them. I didn’t realize until years later that it wasn’t just my favourite wrestlers and bands that I was admiring - I was also admiring the photography work in these magazines.
Fast forward ten years, and I have my first camera at the age of 23. Over 20 years, countless images, and several cameras later and I still can’t get enough of it! I’m in love with photography more now than ever before. I still love black and white images, and looking back at old family images is a real treat.
Recently, I celebrated my 44th birthday and received an old family photo album that was redone from the original photo album. It dates back to the early 1900s, the early years of my late grandmother, and her parents along with her older brother Reginald.
The photo album is the early years, from 1916 to 1931. The prints were so old and fragile that they couldn’t be taken out of the original photo album; they had to be scanned directly from it. And to be honest, I’m thankful for that. Because they had to be scanned directly from the original photo album, it meant all the little hand written details that my late great grandfather wrote were scanned along with the images.
This was way back when you had to dip your pen in a jar of ink. Now that’s old school.
My late great grandfather, Percy Forrow, was a photographer who also served in both World Wars as a photographer, and apparently as a spy for the Royal British Military. His photography work that he printed and put into these old family photo albums are just amazing to look at. The images he shot are simply gorgeous! Think about it: 1916 through 1931, and the history that these images display is simply breathtaking.
I can’t stress this enough: for those of you who cherish your family photos, please ensure that they are well taken care of.
And if that means that they need restoration work, then get them done! I assure you, you won’t regret it. I had my favourite image of my late grandmother restored from the original print (below), as there was some minor work needed. There was some writing in the lower left corner of the print, which I’m convinced that my Nan had done!
The restored colour print looks amazing; Geraldine at Atlantic Photo Supply did a fantastic job! The image was taken by my Nan's father, my late great grandfather, Percy. I don’t know when it was taken, but I figure that it was between 1940 and 1945. It’s a gorgeous colour print that looks like a piece of art. That’s those early days of colour prints for you.
Printed images have come a long way over the centuries. It’s important to keep them alive, be it on our walls, and or in our photo albums that we can look back on with great pride, just like my Nanners (my special nickname that I coined for my Nan, many years ago) did, she loved looking back at all the old family images that she had in countless photo albums and frames.
Finding the right frame for the right print, I firmly believe this is incredibly important. I take a lot of pride in my own photography work, every bit as much as I do with my old family prints, and photo album. The worst thing you can do is put no effort in finding the right frame for your prints, that you want to display on your living room walls, or what have you. The frame I was given for the restored image of my Nanners, was a thin silver frame with a thin matte, it looked horrid with the image. It drove me batty; thankfully, I found the perfect frame at Atlantic Photo Supply, with a double matte no less.
Black and white images will go great with silver or black frames with a white matte, always use a matte!! Colour on the other hand, can be a little tricky. When it comes to silver frames, depending on the image, they’re not always the best choice. If it’s an old family portrait from the early days of colour prints, than you’re going to want to find the perfect frame to compliment the print, which is exactly what I had to do. I even got a copy of the print for my sister Erin, and thankfully the exact same frame too! Not even a black frame would have done this particular restored print justice. However, this frame is perfect for it.
The long and short of it is to take care of your family photographs - they're so much more than just an image on a piece of paper.