New Life for Old Prints

This week I photographed about forty of my old exhibition size prints from the late 1970s and ‘80s. And the results have been surprisingly good, and a huge saving on time compared with the workload involved in individually scanning the same negatives and processing them all. The biggest problem was finding somewhere in the house to place the prints  – almost all of them printed on glossy paper – where I could avoid problems with reflections. That solved, the camera was set up on a tripod and, as the exposures were on average about half a second, the shutter was released using the interval timer to avoid any blur from finger pressure on the shutter button._DS75357_WP

So, today’s image is about 40years old and none the worse for it. It was taken in Blackburn, Lancashire. A whole neighbourhood (my wife and I think it was called Audley Range) was scheduled for demolition and re-development. The place was almost deserted, buildings decaying, many boarded up, some already demolished. I spent most of a morning documenting this area.

I was lining up this image with the warning message on the frontage of the building when I spotted a couple pushing a pram exiting on the right edge. That was the shot of the morning. A welcome slice of serendipity.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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30 Responses to New Life for Old Prints

  1. ChrisdMRF says:

    Great shot Andy, love the feel of it

  2. athyfoto says:

    Serendipity indeed, that one small piece of the image adds so much power and emotion to the picture for me. It changes from a picture of a changing place to one about changing lives.

  3. “Don’t leave death behind” on the building in the foreground and the family exiting on the right in the background. What a great shot, Andy. It could be anywhere in Europe during any time in the last century, I think. A timeless classic.

  4. Terrific shot Andy and great idea to reshoot them.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Edith. I’ve saved myself hours upon hours of work dealing with all the re-touching that would be needed on the scans despite all the Negs being properly sleeved and kept away from dust

  5. Great shot, Andy. The composition alone makes this a winner for me, but I also love the ambiguity of the message: Do you take death with you when you leave or start over with new life?

  6. Do you know what this area looks like now? Is it worth a return visit/reshoot?

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for commenting, Melinda. Yes, we re-visited Blackburn 2 years ago. Some of my wife’s family originated from the Blackburn area and we pass by on the Motorway en route for the Lake District. We stopped off to re-visit a few places in the town. This area is now a vast housing estate, completely unrecognisable. The old estate must have been a grim place to live but I wonder whether the sense of community that was present decades ago has carried over to the new world. I suspect it hasn’t.

  7. oneowner says:

    It’s as great today as it was 40 years ago. Some photos have a timeless quality to them and this is a good example.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. It’s been quite a trip down memory lane leafing my way through boxes of mounted prints – most of them still in pristine condition (must have ‘fixed’ them well!). I still have a few boxes to work through

  8. How fricking cool is that, wow, very nice and it looks great

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Mike. I’m really pleased how this process has worked. The results are better than I had expected – but glossy prints are a nightmare to photograph

  9. Rick says:

    Awesome! Love the grain on that shot!

  10. says:

    Glad I found your blog and techniques! Congratulations on your 3rd place in movement. You are very talented!

  11. Phillip says:

    Great idea Andy. The copy really turned out great. Also, what a neat picture with the couple in the background.

  12. ShimonZ says:

    A fascinating picture.

  13. ehpem says:

    Great shot – to have taken just a few like this over the years is enough to justify the effort of photography.

    I am reminded of post-war shots of London, and of building demolition sites I worked on there in the 1980’s. The intact building in the distance is an important element in this shot too.

  14. Absolutely terrific! I love everything about this image, and the way you’ve digitized it to share here, Andy, really good work! I really hope to see more, my friend!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Toad. It was a trip down memory lane to open the boxes, discover the images hadn’t yellowed with age, and also find that carefully photographing them was going to save me a huge amount of time that I would have spent scanning them all.

  15. seekraz says:

    I like it a lot, Andy…the subject and the way you processed it. Seems timeless…..

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