Saturday, February 9, 2008

Brian at Seventeen

I think this may have been Brian's high school graduation photo, but I'm not entirely certain, since I have several similar ones.

Brian at Ten

I think Brian was about ten when this portrait was taken.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

March of 1973

The skin tones are kind of ghastly after rough color restoration, but here we are! I was five, he was three.

I am hoping to eventually acquire some of the more specialized Photoshop plugins for doing more accurate and nuanced color correction.

Brian at One

He had to Beat the Young Girls Off with a Stick

Color Shift

Here is an excellent example of how the scanner software can correct very faded photographs. Here is a grade-school portrait of Brian; I think this might have been from the first grade:

The original is terribly faded:

It still could benefit from some work; the colors have faded unevenly. But even so, it is quite a surprise to find that he was wearing green!

Brian Dennis Potts

His middle name comes from our great-grandfather, Richard Armstrong's father, Dennis Armstrong, whom we never met. And I forgot his birthday!

Sorry, Brian!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Best of the Blue Album Web Gallery

These are my favorite pictures from the blue album. Uploading pictures to Blogger seems to be pretty unreliable, so I am hosting them offsite. Here is the link:

The Best of the Blue Album Web Gallery

This gallery contains about 51 images at modest sizes for web viewing. The files were created by using Aperture's Web Gallery feature. The original album has about 150 pictures.

The Blue Album, Cover

This is why I called it the Blue Album.

The Blue Album, Page 10

This is one of the digital photos I took of a page in the Blue Album. These were done just for a reference as to how the prints and captions were laid out on the page. These are photos that I also have as slides, although I also found a couple of prints of slides that are missing from the sets of slides.

The Blue Album, the Missing Photos

These are the photos of Linda that I managed to miss when making my high-resolution scans. I think there is another copy of at least one of them in the collection.

The Blue Album

Before our family vacation, I was able to take apart and scan the pages from a large-format photo album that I'll just call the "Blue Album." This album was easy to disassemble because it was held together with a string. The full pages were too large to fit on the scanner, but I took digital photos of each page to help preserve the layout, and then took a high-resolution scan of each photo, and a lower-resolution scan of each caption.

The photographs in the Blue Album are in mixed condition -- some of the black-and-white portraits are absolutely mint, but many of the color snapshots are fading badly. The pages are fibrous, acidic black construction paper, as was commonly used. It sheds little black fibers everywhere, so despite my best efforts at cleaning the scanner glass and dusting the pages between scans there are little black fibers on some of the images. I will need to do some extra cleanup with Photoshop in some cases. Some individual pictures have torn spots where glue has stuck to the prints, but most of them are in decent enough shape. I considered various preservation options up to possibly soaking the prints off the pages, but in the end just reassembled the album and put it in a sturdy drop-front box from Archival Methods. I made several gold DVD+R backups of the images. I will eventually get these sent off to Linda.

Anyway, we took the train to Gaithersburg, Maryland, and I took the album in its big black box with me. I presented the reassembled "Blue Album" to the family. Linda and David got a chance to look at it, and Joan and Don took it back to Myrtle Beach, along with Marcella Armstrong's journal. I have not yet finished reading and transcribing the journal yet, so I am hoping to borrow it back at some point, and perhaps to get it bound in a new cover while I'm at it.

Meanwhile, I have also done a first round of cleanup and enhancement on the images from the blue album. I am trying to come up with a more efficient workflow -- uploading images individually to Blogger tends to be very slow and unreliable. Aperture can export a web album, so I'm trying that. I've taken my picks for the best photos from the Blue Album and put them into a web album. On this G5 iMac, Aperture takes a very long time to generate the web album -- in fact, it has been at it for a couple of hours, but the time estimate keeps going up, not down. When it is done, I will upload this web gallery separately to my Dreamhost space and provide a link here.

While assembling the gallery, I realized that I apparently missed scanning the images from one of the album pages. These are three black-and-white portraits of Linda. The page they are attached to was badly torn, so I probably was having trouble getting the photos onto the scanner without tearing the page apart completely. I must have set it aside to scan later and then reassembled the book without getting to them. Fortunately, I do have the low-resolution digital photo of that particular album page, although it shows some distortion due to the angle. I may also have other copies of one or more of these prints elsewhere in the collection. If not, I'll have to see if I can eventually get these three portraits scanned.

One last thing -- while there are numerous pictures of me in this album, including some I don't think exist elsewhere in the collection, there are unfortunately none of my brother Brian. Apparently this album was assembled before pictures of Brian were available. This doesn't mean there aren't lots of pictures of Brian! I have many, many more in the collection, and will get to them as I work my way through the project.