What a great day!

Tommy P

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Nov 16, 2003
Mid North Indiana
It started a few weeks ago. An elderly lady walked in and said that she saw where we fixed old photos. She presented an 8x10 that was stuck to broken glass. It was of an elderly gentleman and a younger man in suits standing in a yard next to each other in front of green folaige.
She had torn the photo trying to release it from the shards of glass. She wanted to know if we could fix it...and if we could remove the younger man so she would have just the image of the older man, her deceased husband.
With the help of Digital Custom out of Cincy we were able to do just that...remove the younger man....move the older gentleman to the center and manipulate the folaige to look like the photo was just taken.
The lady had been coming in from time to time, while waiting on the photo to be finished, paying a little on her bill. This was her idea....
The photo came in today and looked wonderful...I framed it up in her old frame as she wanted with new glass. I called to tell her it was ready. She said she could'nt pay the $24.00 balance till next week. I said to come and get it now and pay me whenever. She was anxious to get it.....
She was standing across the counter when I layed the framed new photo in front of her. She looked at it for a moment then lowered her head and started to softly cry........
I squeezed her hand and said it was okay....she thanked me with her eyes....
In my thirty years of my previous employment I never had such joy....I love framing.....I'll never be rich doing this but I love the rewards I occasionally get from my customers when I hold up their memories and treasures that I have made even more special...

If you are not doing a "photo restoration" service for your customers you should be.....It is a great add on sale and leads to some nice framing jobs. And the reaction and gratitude from your customer has a real great feeling....What a great day!
I offer photo restoration. When I had to find a new lab because my old one went out of business I wanted to test the new lab.

So I got the only decent color picture of my dad, who died when I was 9. I had it restored and copies made for my siblings and our children.

Everyone was just so happy to have it.

But the best was my daughter, age 19, tears in her eyes, "SO that's where I get my eyes!"

My dad had the most beautiful blue eyes that I see in my daughter each day! People often ask if she has colored contacts.

Photo restoration is a wonderful thing.
I offer photo restoration also. This Christmas I got to do an interesting job also. This lady brings in this Military Motorcycle License. I’ll show my ignorance here but it seems that there is/was a class of the Army where you could be trained to operate motorcycles. The owner of the certificate was so proud of it that he NEVER removed it from his wallet. The certificate was standard 8.5X11 and had been folded and stored in his wallet for so many years that it was now in 3”X3” squares, literally. The owner of the license has long passed and the shredded paper found its way into an envelope. It hadn’t been removed much until a lady who married into this family brought me the certificate. The story above was all she knew about it.

I decided to not handle it too much here either. I suggested that we have it digitally restored then put the original back into an envelope. A day later the photo lady calls and says, “Did you want me to copy that note on the back too?” After asking what the note said she responded, “Dear mother please keep this for me. I don’t need it anymore.” I thought we had better copy it. Well the family had never seen this note and as it turns out had HUGE significance. I later learned that this guy had a bad motorcycle wreck and while in the hospital he did something odd. He asked for his wallet and pulled out that license and asked that it be given to his mother. Apparently his mother never like him riding motorcycles and they think this must have been some sort of apology or amends or some type of special suggestion to his mother. Everybody in the family loved it so much that they came back for their copy of the document as well. This obviously is a very important momento to this family and I’m glad that I could be part of it.

Now here is an oddity that I noticed this Christmas. I had many items of similar sentimental importance to frame this year. But the spouse who had only married into the family that owns the heirloom (I need a little help here Miss English) ALWAYS brought it in.

I framed a map of Cuba with a photo of this lady’s father in law and Fidel Castro. She had no idea of the story behind the picture.

I framed three textiles (tatting I think it’s called) that was hand done by a great grandmother in law. She didn’t know if there was a story behind it.

When I frame this stuff I become part of the story. I would like to know more about the pieces but I’m afraid I may not see these people again. I have thought of writing or calling to ask how the gift was accepted and if they found out more about it. Has anybody else noticed this phenomena?

Here is a pic of the textile and a copy of a 100 year old photo (again the photo service)

When I frame items of this sort I always add a pocket to the back of the frame unit and suggest that the stories that go with the item be written down and stored there. It adds a personal touch and lets people know you have acknowledged the value of their momentos and the importance of the people that they originally belonged to.

Originally posted by Jay H:

Now here is an oddity that I noticed this Christmas. I had many items of similar sentimental importance to frame this year. But the spouse who had only married into the family that owns the heirloom (I need a little help here Miss English) ALWAYS brought it in.

Jay, I know why this happens. As I told you when you were here, this is a family farm. It's been in my husband's family over 200 years. We know the stories and the history because the one who married into the family kept up with the history info and documents.

It seems that when one lives and grows up with some sort of "history" it's not really history, it's "just my family stuff." But when someone marries into this, they see the importance with fresh eyes. That's why we all wish we'd asked our grandparents more things, but know lots of other usless information...

Betty, so very true. My sainted and delightful mother-in-law kept two or three albums of family photos: her siblings, her children and their progeny. When Margaret died, her daughters didn't want the albums. Unbelievable. It wasn't that they resented them: they just didn't value them. They're here with me and will be cherished.

Somewhat afield of the topic: expunging a person from a photo and moving, adding other things scares the wits out of me. Am I alone in this feeling?
Betty: That's a very perceptive observation!

MerpsMom: It's revisionist history. I always think back to the articles in Life magazine after the JFK assassination. Remember the famous photo of Lee Harvey Oswald holding the infamous rifle and the Communist newspapers? Sometime down the pike someone noticed that the shadows on the face were coming from a different angle than those of the background, or something like that. Nowadays, a high school kid with Photoshop could fix that in a couple of minutes. It's kind of hard to believe that photography is accepted as evidence of anything anymore. Same with video, really.
Just think of what special effects can accomplish nowadays.
Bottom line is, it's a tool. When used respectfully, photo restoration is the greatest. However, even good tools can be abused.
:eek: Rick
I have no issues with digitally shredding photos. But I love very old photo albums. I have considered selling them in the store. But they almost always come loaded with pictures. I feel weird removing these photos from the albums. Its like they belong there.
One year my mother walked into her first antique store. She bought about 30 old photos & tin-types along with frames.

She hung them with our photos, and assigned names and such to these strangers.

That's how we became related to the Duke of Hampton. :D

Great framing story Tom. No one at Michael's or Joanne's will ever tell that kind of story.
A very favorite family photo shows my great grandmother with her four young boys (one set of twins) and her baby daughter (my wonderful grandmother) on her lap and her husband standing at her side. This photo is from Czechoslovakia, sometime during WWI. My cousins and I all have copies of this photo.

When my grandmother died, at the very bottom of an old trunk, we found another version of this cherished photo. This original version has no great grandfather in it!! Indeed, if we looked closely at our version of this photo, we noticed that the lighting is different on his face and even more stunning, he has no feet! How we did not even notice this over the years has us all baffled. Family history helped us piece together that he must have been elsewhere fighting.

So, Cathie, that people have been 'messing with things' is somewhat of a time-honored tradition make you feel any less ill-at-ease with it...? It is like very bad weather in that, at the very least, it makes for a great story!

Back on topic: MY great day.
I had an appointment at a customer's house this morning to help them decide what and how to frame for their brand new home. Their new home was absolutely jaw-dropping gorgeous. Looked like a quirky office building on the outside: ice-covered pond out front, wall of glass windows overlooking the pond and sunset and valley beyond. The inside was exquisitely subtle; rough hewn stone floor, gold leaf walled nooks, birdseye maple kitchen cabinetry, floating two story fireplace, brushed aluminum rails and hardware... I could go on and on. I expected a boxy sleek home like this to be bleak and chilly. But this was anything but, thanks to lavish use of texture and an eccentric, yet sensible layout. This was a real treat to see and it was made to showcase art. I can't wait to see the finished framing in situ. It will look gorgeous.

I love my job.

Edie the nowiwanttototallyredecorate goddess

I have an old photo of a very dapper gent with a striped ascot in my shop, elaborately framed. Everyone notices it and likes it and comments on it.

"Is that a relative of yours?" they ask.

I take it as a compliment that they ask because the gent is quite handsome.

"He could be!" I answer.

edie the youneverknow goddess
I am put in mind of a ling from "The Pirates of Penzance". When the Major General is reminded the he is not related to the ancestors in the graveyard on his estate, he replies something like "I don't know whose ancestors they were, but I know whose ancestors they are."
A Russian friend tells the story of one of Stalin's early official photos as it appeared in school books. Starts out it's Stalin and lots of other high ranking officials. As the books are reprinted, the officials begin to disappear from the photo as they are purged and killed, until there is only Stalin left.

One more to add....my 85 year old mother, who still doesn't exactly understand what I have traded the family business to become a framer for, had a picture of my grandfather when he was about four or five years old. My grandfather, who I never knew, died when my mom was about six. She said this picture, which I had never seen, was the only picture she had of him. She showed the badly damaged photo to me for the first time in early November. He was dressed in the traditional gown that made a boy look like a girl. His face was badly scratched and his left side was somewhat amiss. Mom said she wished it was in better condition.....a light bulb went off in my head!

I asked her if I could borrow it to show my kids....well knowing what I was about to do with the help of the digital lab.

When Christmas came around and we were all doing the Christmas exchange at my brothers "material mansion" I slipped the package next to her chair.

Lots of sweaters, gift cards, earrings, etc. were opened.....then she opened my gift of her father....framed to perfection, totally restored to like it was taken yesterday. I included a fancy little easel to put it on. They even restored the words that were at the bottom of the photo that we really had trouble making out...."Love,.......Murray, Kentucky." Where my mom was born......

She only said as everyone else looked on and asked what it was....."It's my Dad....."

It was the best look I ever got from my Mom......
Our restorer is sometime truly amazing. He can sometimes do godly things.

A customer brought in a picture that had been abused and one corner was even torn off which corisponded with one young mans armpit, leaving him with only his left arm. She asked if he could repair the picture somewhat and maybe enlarge it to an 8x10.....and make 16 copies for all the surviving children of these 9 children. This was the family photo taken Jan 1,1900.

Sure. was the answer.

Two weeks later 7 of the childrens children paraded into the shop to pick up the photos and order frames.

They all were given a "Like New Photo". Mary broke into giggles. "Your man is a god."

Then they all started laughing. "He gave Uncle Ralph two hands." (The boy at the edge of the tear) He was born without a right arm.

They all loved the picture as restored. They didn't want it corrected. They loved it because it was of the "Whole" family.

Evidently Uncle Ralph had never married. He had always been "the favorite uncle". and now he was whole.
Somehow I suspect that folks have been "playing" with images in photographs since photography was invented. It was quite common for the family in the Americas to pose with a blank space in the back row so that Uncle Tunoose in Rumania could sit for his portrait and the two photos could be made as one.

Sometimes you can see really strange anomalies in photos if you really look!

Photoshop just makes that job a lot easier and a lot less toxic.

Those are really heartwarming stories, everyone. Thanks for sharing! And Baer - as usual - your story is absolutely wonderful!