So many images!

This week I continued working on the images for my Image Page. Several of us met at the library to work together as we restored our photos.  I took the image of the South Carolina slave quarters and continued to refine my restoration by using the healing brush. The image was looking good, but the figures in the yard were hard to see or bring into focus.   Since we had been playing with the burn and dodge tool, I decided to lighten up those figures by applying the dodge tool to the figures in the foreground. Once I felt I had cleaned up most of the image, I then turned my attention to cutting my stereograph in half and layering one half on the other in an effort to replicate a 3-D image. I was planning on using the same method we used in class to cut out the cat, but I was having trouble completing the steps. Lacy came to the rescue by pointing out a few my settings were wrong in photoshop and reminding me to make a copy after I loaded a selection.   But even as I successfully layered the images, I wasn’t satisfied with what I was producing so I sent off a quick email to Dr. Petrik to double check I was on the right track.   Once she explained I should set my layers off by just a pixel I really began to see results. Here is my final project.

slave quarters in SC cb curves with rt layer on top

I then turned my attention to creating a vignette. Using the image of Sara Skipwith Sinclair, a member of the Skipwith family (the focus of my project), I used the instructions I found on the Photoshop Essentials webpage. In just a few quick steps I had created this vignette!


I have not yet completed a colorized image. I’m a bit intimidated by this process, so I thought I’d wait until we played with colorizing in class on Monday. I have watched a good portion of, but I’m still a little wary of all his files! One thing I do know is that I will use a far less detailed image than John Derry’s photograph of Teddy Roosevelt!

I commented on Pearl’s blog!


Restoring my faith in Photoshop

I began this week somewhat confused about how to get anything done in Photoshop, but by the end of the week I feel like I’m finding my way around and even understanding how to restore photos! On Friday a group of us played around with matting and engraving as well as testing out some restoration techniques. It took a little while to recreate what we did in class, but by end of our meeting we each had an image matted and engraved! Here is what I created:

south carolina slave quarters with caption copy copy

My first attempt at restoration was not very satisfactory and I couldn’t seem to get the “patch” tool to work correctly.   So I attempted to “heal” my image again using the instructions in the article That Wicked Worn Look, but again did not meet with much success. I did, however, color a few items on this photo of my mother:

colorized mom

I’m not sure if this was taken while she was a student at Kent State or while she was newly married to my father and he was teaching at Athens College. Really the place is irrelevant, although I’m sure it would have influenced the color of her corsage! I tried coloring her lips as well, but that was a disaster!

But back to restoration! I now turned to help from our good friend Lynda. At last I began to get results and was successfully utilizing the Photoshop tools.  I used an image I downloaded from the New York Public Library, entitled, A Plantation Scene in South Carolina.  Here is the original image I used:

slave quarters in SC

Here it is after using the healing tools, including the patch tool, which I really like!

slave quarters in SC healed 1

On this image I created a new layer, used the paint brush and darkened the left side of the image, then used Gaussian blur. I originally used black as directed in the lesson, but she was working on a black and white image. I decided it made more sense to use a brown tone that better matched the image color.

slave quarters in SC healed 2

Finally I used to used the color balance and curves tools in this restoration, which I actually think is the most successful!

slave quarters in SC cb curves

One of the other things I realized during this process, was that I should probably have downloaded the GIFF of this image from the Library of Congress instead of the JPEG as I think this will not expand well.

I commented on Mark’s blog

The Intriguing Case of Using Images in Your Website

I was hoping to totally redesign my “Type” page and start work on my “About” page of my website this week, but I spent too much time working on a take-home exam for my Antebellum South class and grading papers to get that ahead. I learned a great deal about images this week and decided that when editing images for a historical site one should hold to the “News Photo” standards. Just like a news photo, historical images are presenting a viewpoint and truth that we as historians should not alter. That doesn’t mean we can’t resize or crop to bring attention to details, but we shouldn’t be photoshopping in elements that were not there originally. I did think the section on illustrations was interesting and something to consider, especially using type as an illustration. It already has me thinking of how I might use type as illustration in my site. I also loved the article on the Case of the Inappropriate Alarm Clock. I’m not sure that I agree with James Curtis that we should censor the New Deal photographers for manipulating the composition of their photographs. I do think it’s important to know that this was done when applying historical interpretation of the images. It allows us to discuss what was the intent and purpose of the FSA photographers. Was their goal to only present journalistic reality (whatever that was in the 1930s) and only capture moments of reality? Or was their goal to use artistic techniques to tell the story of Depression Era America in an effort to support New Deal legislation? And as important, how does knowing that they did move objects change our interpretation of the past? I actually have my students in my Women’s History class read an article about Florence Thompson by David McCormack that discusses the reality of Lange’s Migrant Mother image, so I think it is important to discuss motivation and reality.

I also enjoyed working through Dr. Petrik’s tutorial on Photoshop. I couldn’t find her image the “Home Guard,” and so I used another print I found on the Library of Congress Site. It took me a little while to make the conversion from Paula’s PS directions to my PS CC 2015, but in the end there were only minor differences and I had no problem creating a new image. This is what I created:

slave women mat

I’m looking forward to finding the right line image for my website and use this technique to create artwork for my website headers!

I commented on Pearl’s and Lacy’s Post