A St. John’s man is using photo editing software to restore age-old photos – and reconnecting people with the past.
Working out of his home in St. John’s, Nash has restored hundreds of photos in the past decade, repairing and colourizing them.
It is common for Nash to receive an old beaten up photo that has somehow managed to survive the ravages of time – its edges tattered, so fragile that the slightest mishandling will be enough to rip it to shreds. Yet, he will make it seem fresh again.
Nash did some investigating and discovered Adobe Photoshop. He took some online courses and taught himself how to restore and colourize old photos.
“It’s one of those things, the more you do it, the better you get at it,” said Nash.
Known as the Photo Mender, Nash conducts a lot of research into how to use correct colours when restoring photos.
“If it’s a military type or a historical photo in general, I try to find out the location, so I can get the terrain right,” said Nash. “They’re the ones that require the most amount of research.”
Nash uses any information that his clients can provide in regards to skin and eye colour.. Then, he’s able to bring life into what was once a black and white photo.
“If they don’t know the colour of clothing, I can search the kind of clothing that they were wearing in that time period,” said Nash.
Nash said the photos he considers favourites are the ones that evoke emotion.
“I did a family portrait of a soldier that was killed in 1918. One of the little boys in the photo was still alive. He was 98. He never seen his father in colour.”
“I did a lot of photos for loved ones that passed on, and when they get back to me and say, ‘Oh, my grandmother cried when she seen this’ – they’re the ones I can remember,” said Nash. “I did a family portrait of a soldier that was killed in 1918. One of the little boys in the photo was still alive. He was 98. He never seen his father in colour.”
“He was overwhelmed to see his father in colour,” recalled Simmonds’ great niece Karen Bearns. “He commented on his father’s hair and said, ‘He got it right. My father’s nickname was Blasty Bough.’”
Nash says the restorations have a tremendous impact on families who have been accustomed looking at their relatives in black and white or in sepia.
“You forget that these people lived their lives in colour,” said Nash. “I thought it would be nice to see these people as their peers saw them. It brings you closer to them, to see the world as they saw it and see them how others saw them.”