Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2018 Update and Christmas wishes

Santa riding the Wellington Cable Car into a tunnel by Jo Carter

I haven't blogged a lot this year as it has turned out to be a very busy year digitising and restoring images.  I am fortunate to work with many interesting and wonderful people ranging from individuals with one off jobs to larger scale collections.

There were projects for all sorts of occasions - wedding anniversaries, birthday parties; individual and professional genealogical and historical research projects, small archives, artists and insurance claims.  I provided images for specialist funeral headstones and digital and print displays.  I scanned, photographed and reproduced a whole range of items - documents, artworks, photos, slides, negatives.... making discoveries along the way identifying a tintype and an ambrotype (both unusual in NZ) as well as a photo over 1metre in length.....

Mid year I undertook a course on the Care and Identification of Photographs with Gawain Weaver through the Northern States Conservation Centre to hone my skills in photographic and print identification and storage.  I can now help my clients with preserving their original images as well as dating their photos....

We have also introduced a new service digitising 8mm and 16mm movies...

So from all of us at Carterworks, season's greetings and best wishes for the new year!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Greetings

Credit: With thanks to the generous souls in Warkworth who put this wonderful display together in 2016

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Do I scan the negative or do I scan its print?

At Carterworks we scan and digitize thousands of colour photographic prints, slides and negatives.

When it comes to digitizing colour photos from certain eras it is better, if possible, to scan the negative. Why is this?  If you scan a colour print and compare it to a scan of the negative used to make that print you will notice differences between the scans.  This difference is particularly obvious in prints and negatives produced circa 1980s - 1990s.  These differences are not due to scanner settings or the type of scanner.  We know this as our systems are colour controlled.  To illustrate this point we scanned negatives and their corresponding prints from our own collection.

What we found:

1. Scans taken from original negatives have a greater colour range than the scans of their corresponding colour prints. Some of this difference can be explained by the limitations of print technology and inks at the time of printing; the remainder can be attributed to environmental exposure and the unstable nature of colour photography.  Another reason is the addition of black in the shadows at the time the print was made. Black was added to  made the print images look sharper but this  means information and colour is lost in the shadows.  The negative does not have this loss of detail.

Scan from original 1990s negative

Scan from original 1990s print.  Use of black
in the shadows reduces photo information.
The photo scan has a pink colour cast

2. Prints often have a distinctive colour cast.  This is caused by a mechanism employed by the chemical photo labs in the past to "improve a photo" which was to add a wash of whatever the dominant colour was in the image being developed.

We first discovered these differences when we scanned in a series of photos we took in the early 90s of  Art Deco buildings in Napier, NZ.  At the time the images were shot many of these buildings were predominantly painted with a soft pastel neutral background of white or cream and colour was used to pick out the building decoration. We noticed that a lot of our prints of these buildings had a colour cast which was in the same colour range as the buildings trim.  However this colour cast could not be seen in a scan of the corresponding original negative. These colour casts are obvious when compared to the original scan of the corresponding negatives, see examples above and below..

Scan from original 1990s print note the blue green colour cast

Scan from 1990s original negative

Scan from original 1990s negative
Scan from original 1990s print note the blue colour cast

What if you only have photos? 

This is not a problem.   We will produce a high resolution scan of your photos, remove the dust and scratches, correct any colour casts and any photographic print texture using Photoshop and other specialized editing tools as we have done in the restored example below....

Original photo no negative available with
red colour cast.
Final image corrected in Photoshop

Copyright Carterworks

Friday, May 26, 2017


I am pleased to annouce that Kelburn Normal School's Centennial history book is now available. Jo from Carterworks was responsible for image digitisation, restoration and retouching.

Kelburn Normal School - Celebrating 100 Years is a brand new 150+ page, fully bound, hard-cover photographic book charting the school’s first 100 years (1914-2014).
Using previously published historical information, newly sourced personal memories from some of the thousands of pupils who have passed through its doors, and hundreds of photographs from the school and national archives, it’s a fascinating look back at Kelburn Normal School.   
The book is chock-full of images of the school and its pupils from the past 100 years. Is your child, parent or great/grandparent within its pages? Many have already found theirs!
Priced at $70, the Kelburn Centenary Committee is selling the book at cost, with no profit for the school. Postage ($7.50 in New Zealand) is additional, or books can be picked up from the school’s office for free.
28th June: A new shipment of books has just arrived so if you have not already ordered now is a good time to place an order at https://www.kns100book.co.nz/
We hope you enjoy looking back over the first 100 years of Kelburn Normal School.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Unusual marks on an old photo

Recently I was asked to restore a photograph that had some unusual fine white pin marks on each corner.   I have not seen these types of marks before....

The full restored photo

Enlarged pin mark

The marks remind me of crop marks used by print designers when laying out publications either to indicate page edges or where to crop an image. I am wondering if these marks were added by the photographer to assist the picture framer. So far my research has not been able to confirm this. Have you seen this on any of your old photos do you know what these marks indicate?
Copyright Carterworks NZ

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Wonderful wedding photos

Wedding photos are always wonderful!

In the last couple of weeks I have restored a number of Edwardian wedding photos for different clients.  The images featured in this blog show an extended family as well as the bridal couple on the verandah of the family homestead....

Below are the faded originals which contain multiple fine scratches, stains, spotting etc. The real challenge with a restoration like this is to remove the damage while retaining the detail of the dresses.


Copyright Carterworks NZ

Friday, April 7, 2017