Restoring History and Preserving Memories

I would like to start by thanking Niall Mc Guirk for asking me to take this challenge on. Niall’s grandfather played football for St. Mary’s GAA* and in 1919 they won the Dublin Junior Championship and League.

A team photograph was taken, developed and framed in 1920 – over one hundred years old!
Niall asked me if I could restore the photograph, reprint and reframe. I said I’ll take a look and see what I could do.

The frame was delivered and this is what it looked like (click on images to enlarge).

The glass was broken and parts of the photograph(s) were stuck to the glass. My first thoughts were “What if I take the glass off and rip the original photograph – I’d destroy a piece of history”.

Opening the frame was the first challenge, one which had to be done with the upmost care and delicate precision. Just in case the photo ripped, I took a high resolution photograph before opening the frame. I took a number of shots, some under and over exposed.

After removing the glass, I took another series of high resolution photographs and brought the files into Photoshop.

I restored the damaged sections, worked on enhancing the image quality and removed scratches and imperfections.
Once the imperfections were fixed I worked some of my digital magic to enhance the file for optimal print quality.

In respect to the title at the top (ST. MARY’S TEAM 1919-20), as a graphic designer I was interested to know what the font used was. I walked Camino Del Norte in 2017 and noticed a similarity with the font used on this frame and the traditional font used throughout the Basque region. I downloaded a similar Basque font and edited it in Adobe Illustrator to replicate the heading below. Another small addition to enhance the overall quality of the final product.

Because of the historical significance, I suggested using the highest quality products from paper choice, mount board, glass and wood/moulding choice.

The paper used was 300gsm Museum quality fine art textured paper. I printed it with the latest Professional Photographic Printer from Canon – the Image ProGraf Pro series. The print is ‘giclee’ and printed at the highest quality. The printer is a twelve ink system, and one of those inks is Chroma Optimiser. The Chroma Optimiser deals with the reflection of light resulting in a more vibrant print.

The mount board used is conservation quality and the glass choice was a non-reflective UV protective glass. You wouldn’t think there’s glass in the frame. Once you see the difference between regular glass and non-reflective glass, you won’t use regular glass again!!

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, the process I used, the digital enhancements and using state-of-the-art materials to produce the final product. If you’re interested in restoring history or preserving memories contact me today via WhatsApp on 0877950130 or email Thank You.

*St. Mary’s GAA were based in North Strand in Dublin before amalgamating with O’Tooles G.A.C.

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