PHOTO RESTORATION CASE STUDY

Pictured in this photo, taken on Looke’s Wharf in Balmain circa 1920's, is Clarice "Looke" Davy (the maternal grandmother of Liz Northam) alongside her soon to be sister-in-law Heather O’Donnell. 

Liz approached us to restore the photo and in the process asked if we could portray her Grandmother as the independent, strong woman she remembers her as. With no malice to Heather we produced a high resolution scan of the small photo, painstakingly retouched all the scratches, blemishes and damage present, while maintaining the integrity of the original image. We then cloned the image and “removed” Heather. This was quite a complex process as both women were reflected in the water. Heather's shadow and reflection had to be removed so that the new image was believable. The photo had also been cut to fit a small oval frame, so we extended the background and surrounds of the image to make it a rectangle again. When the retouching was complete we were able to produce several archival pigment prints (giclée printing) at A6 size for Liz to give as gifts to her family. We were also able to produce an enlargement of the photo to be framed. The original image was no more than 80 mm in height, after restoration, we have been able to reproduce archival prints up to A3 (420 x 297 mm) in size.

Now Clarice's memory is honoured as she sits tall, preserved as the strong independent woman she was. Born into a strict Presbyterian family, she married Heather's brother, Gregory Vincent O’Donnell. He was Catholic, so Clarice converted. This cost her dearly, becoming estranged from her family. At the age of thirty and only two days after the youngest of their four children was born, Clarice was tragically widowed. Her beloved husband had died from, then untreatable, diabetes complications in Muswellbrook hospital. Disowned by her family, she found a way to survive on her own, which she did through her education and teaching qualifications. Her children grew up, beginning their own families and after a rewarding career in education, in 1964, just as equal pay for female teachers came in, she retired. Living in Taree, she was an active member of the community, taking on many major roles, volunteering for various associations. She passed away in 1995, having led a hard yet fulfilling life. Liz remarks "I still miss her. This whole process has been seamless and enjoyably cathartic”.

We are so happy to have the opportunity to help preserve the memory of Clarice for Liz and her family. If you have old photos or artworks that need restoration, please get in touch to discuss how we can help preserve your precious memories. 

Liz has recently opened a small giftwares shop. "The Magpie. Dungog" located behind Chic & Antique at 211 Dowling St Dungog.