Most of the time, image retouchers get a bad rap. They are usually fixing the mistakes of photographers or making flawless models even more beautiful. All practice that many individuals find deceiving. But, here is a story that might help them get the recognition they deserve as artists. In the wake of the tragic tsunami that ripped over Japan in 2011, hundreds of image retouchers from around the world joined forces to do something incredible. They hand cleaned, scanned, and repaired over 135,000 photographs that were damaged in the disaster. You can listen to the heartfelt story below:
The work the retouchers put in to restore the photographs to their original condition was undoubtedly time consuming. Below, you can see an example of the poor condition many of the photographs were in.
Some of the images required a lot more work than others. In this next photo, the kimono had to be almost entirely hand painted in order to bring the photo back to it’s original condition.
The detail given to repairing this portrait is clearly the work of an artist.
“All these photos had been damaged by water. They had been submerged in saltwater, covered in bacteria, sewage, sometimes even oil. All of which, everytime, is going to continue to damage them. Hand cleaning them was a huge part of the project. We couldnt retouch the image unless it was clean, dry, and reclaimed.”
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