Family history often includes a collection of old family photos, videos, and other sorts of media. As we covered in previous blogs about digitizing old photos and videos, there are also services that provide photo restoration. One of these companies is Photograph Restoration Inc. out of Downers Grover, Illinois. Photograph Restoration Inc. is owned and operated by Mark Chamberlain for over 20 years.
Mark has a love for history and wants to do his part to restore and preserve it.
His story began 20 years ago as the owner of a corporate photography studio.
Over that time he was able to hire some of the best artists in the country.
He decided to open a restoration company and redirected the skills of the artists on his team towards the restoration of damaged Photographs, Negatives, Tintypes, Ambrotypes, Daguerreotypes, Glass Plates, Old Motion picture films 8mm & 16mm, Videotapes.
“It’s like getting multiple presents in every day.”
Mark feels like he is the luckiest guy in the fact that he gets in 5-10 new jobs a day that are pieces of history that were in people’s homes that are amazing in their own right. He gets to see & hold things that almost no one else in the world ever gets to see. He sees it as a real privilege that he never gets tired of.
When Mark started Photograph Restoration Inc., he realized two things;
- The American baby boomer population was aging & that their memories were rapidity deteriorating and the opportunity to open a wonderful business that could save their precious memories to pass on to future generations.
- The environment is changing because of Green House gasses, Floral Carbons, & many other types of pollution that is causing our weather to produce more damaging conditions like Hurricanes, Tropical storms, flooding, extreme heat & droughts etc. This, in turn, was causing peoples basements where they stored their old family photographs to become damaged. Peoples’ attics where the extreme heat & drought was causing photographs that were stored there to also become damaged.
Who benefits from photo restoration services?
Museums, historical societies, media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, etc, family historians and genealogists can all benefit from photo restoration services. Currently, 30% of the business he receives is for genealogists and family historians. You might even find people who receive photo albums as heirlooms who just want to save them from total destruction from age.
What kind of technology does photo restoration use?
The technology used for photo restoration can range from the human to special photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop but Mark says the single most important part is having a talented artist combine all of the above along with their artistic talents to bring the damaged image back to life. It takes natural skill and talent that computers just don’t have sometimes.
Real Life Stories of Photo Restorations
When asked what the most interesting photo or document Mark has worked with, he tells us this story from WWII.
“There have been so many a favorite of mine was 3 Japanese Kamikaze pilots who were dressed in their full military pilot uniforms. Next to each pilot was a Japanese woman each dress in a beautiful white wedding gown. So it was the last group photo of 3 friends who all got married at the same time just before they left for their last mission. It was an especially haunting photograph because none of the people looked over the age of 16 years old.” Do you have the sample photo I could include?
Are You Interested in the Services of Photo Restoration Inc.?
The company has completed roughly 15,000 restorations (about 1,000 a year).
Each project takes about 3 hours and the costs typically range from $100-$500 to complete. Time and costs depend on the severity of the damage and the amount of work required to accomplish the desired finished result.
Other Services Offered by Photo Restoration Inc.
Photo Restoration Inc. offers a variety of services to go along with the photo restoration.
They can also restore and repair the following types of items;
- Damaged documents
- Damaged videotapes
- Damaged old movie film
- Enhance dark or light videotape or old movies for better quality
- Damaged frames
Mark also owns and operates the company, Old Movie Conversion.