On July of 1888 Eastman Kodak placed a camera on the market with the slogan, "You press the button, we do the rest". For the first time in history the masses could now record history with the push of a button. No harsh chemicals were needed to bring alive forever moments in time. In 1901 Eastman Kodak introduced the Kodak Brownie and the rest is history.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Okay I admit I have been absent from this site for ages--but recently a lot has changed. Big news is this site will be linked to a new page.

The reason?

First I have met so many great folks as of late, both in Columbus and locally. The Ohio and Erie Towpath has been ripe for photography with the great early spring. Being there, on the path, has opened the door for many new viewers.

It has been rather embarrassing to send new friends here because nothing is fresh since I keep slapping pictures on Facebook instead of here, where they truly belong.

So this is the deal.

I have this site for black and whites, which I love, but there will also be a site for color.


Two reasons. First I want people to see and enjoy some of my best work.

Secondly I want to start selling more photos. I have blessed by selling numerous photos this past year, now it is time to make the bigger move by selling online.


Last summer my Canon fell to the kitchen floor taking my camera and best lens off to digital heaven. As hard as I try to save money to pay cash for a new camera, something always comes up to clean out my savings. I live on disability so my camera money comes from rehabing photos for customers and selling my work.

As of today the camera (Canon 60D) and lens will cost $1,195. My savings was $475 last week. Today it is zip. So I will once again look for a grant, but in reality selling will get me there quicker which of course will make me a bit more proud.

Sales and donations can be handled through PayPal.

Give me a few days to set up a new shop and please come back. The coffee pot is always on and the best pie in town is here at Shelly's Cafe.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Black and white photo lovers, this is a hodge-podge , if you will, compilation of photos I have restored . The trick was to find a sense of order to place the photos and after much shifting from one spot to another it may finally make sense. If not just enjoy them.

I am finding new ways to restore older photos that are not necessarily in this set.Work is steadily coming in, enough to keep some spending money for developing numerous black and whites, mostly to 5x7's and putting them away into albums. Now that the cold, damp days have settled into the Ohio Valley there will be numerous more hours to devote to this art. Fellow Buckeyes haven't seen much of the sum for the last two weeks. Sigh, welcome to Ohio.

Now as for the new computer most of you have heard about, the money is set aside for the next phase of technology here at the bunker. The 23rd of this month Microsoft will finally release Windows 7 at which time I hope to replace my trusty Sony VAIO for a HP of unknown model at this time. I give this 5 year old work horse a five star rating and hopefully will find another computer as dependable as this critter. I have no idea what I will do with my Sony desktop yet, but a little tune up will probably turn it into a nice back-up. FYI, Sony no longer makes a desk top, only laptops and the hugely expensive all-in-ones. But this site is not about computers but photographs so let us move on.

Click on photos for enlargement

Children--do not try this at home. But considering how slow "green" electric cars move, there is little doubt the sled could move at a dangerous speed.. Besides it looks rather flat around there.

How did that Bobby McFerrin song go a decade ago-- Don't worry, be happy. I mean what's a little mud between friends.

Get the shovel ma if ya want to git to the picture show."

When you lose the race then become a billboard. Reminds me of the jalopies that raced about my hometown's track back in Iowa back in my youth. No years need to be mentioned.

I have seen versions of this style of early buses in national park photographs. Not sure this was a park bus, but the male driver sure had a bevy of beauties to haul about.

Gas, tires, parts or a cheap car. Stop by Gus's Gas where the gals hang out. Cash only though. No MasterCard accepted here.

You know, the headlights are bigger than these kids heads. So tell me, which one is brighter.

I'm not sure if she was an aeronautical pilot or a delivery worker. Maybe she delivered WWI pizza's?

Iif you were filthy rich and spoiled you had your own Hudson at three years of age in a time when most folks had little to call there own. Actually she may have been the sweetest kid on the block. Who knows?

Steam Locomotives

Actually I know very little about these trains, but this one looks an awful lot like the coal shoots we had not far from here. I can recall my dad taking us down there one Sunday after church when steam was almost all but gone.

Homesteads and Towns.

The next time I am in Walmart and hear a sugared up kid screaming because he needs another Wi Machine or other expensive toy, I will consider sending him back to a time where a roof was the number one consideration for many people. I have numerous hard time photos only because the depression was the time black and whites were popular and numerous.

Nope, no idea where this is.

Nor here, but I would guess Kansas or South Dakota.

World War I
The story here is the Girl Scouts down south asked people to save their peach pits, which in turn was turned into charcoal, which in turn was eventually turned into gun powder.

This is a downsized poster which was turned into a 4x6 which, by the way, are for sale for anyone who does scrap booking. If you have son or daughter in the military and you are keeping a book, this may look nice in the mix of photos. Of course you don't need to scrapbook to own one. I am in the process of scanning old ads and posters to turn into photos.

Wild West
I did a quick search on Indian photographs and it looks like Geronimo. Can't be certain, but my searches have not stopped. This old photo was given to me to fix up for a friend. I have seen this photo before, but the restoration of this copy came out great.

This is also a familiar photo I have made into 5x7's. It is Buffalo Bill Cody and his side kicks, Pawnee Bill and Buffalo Jones. Of course he started the Wild West Shows in 1883 near North Platte, Nebraska.
Wild west? Nope. Wild hill! These are two girls from an actual police photo. The revenuers raided their grandpa's still which they protected. After the police took away their ammo they had them pose for the snapshot.


Not much I can add here. I restored these photos of which I can tell you little of, other than the two unhappy bathers are Indian children. I would guess the bottom photo is taken along a canal. of which we here in Ohio have our our early history based around. Ohio Erie Canal? Who knows, but it would be nice to know.

That is it for this bunch. Of course there are more, I restore them faster them the speed of light (not hardly). Some old family portraits have taken numerous hours to get to the point where I am satisfied.

I am going to be posting some new color shots on the Cafe site soon. Can't mix the two, you know.

Remember, any and all prints here are for sale

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


If you have been a faithful follower of Shadows you know we presented a list of early school pictures from the Appalachian section of Ohio taken in the late 1920's through early 1930. Last summer the same friend who gave me most of the pictures from the previous post also gave me the ones I am displaying today. The last few are an exception and came from another source.

It is interesting to study the faces. Again, that is the beauty of black and white. There is only a small amount of touch up because I did not want to change the features of the vintage photo.

One great news flash to offer my readers--I have now saved, scrimped and fought tooth and nail to save up the needed money to buy my new super computer. Horaay! But the caveat is I feel it is important to buy the extended warranty that allows the Geek Squad to come to my home and repair the computer if necessary for three years. That jacks up the cost another $150, which puts that carrot back out on the string for a while. But soon I will be able to run more programs without the computer crashing. I will clean up the hard drive on my old dependable Sony and sell it to someone who wants a great computer but doesn't need to run a ton of power grabbing photo programs.

I am very anti-credit card, especially after my Sears card went up to 26 percent interest, so to get this computer plus my scanner by saving and selling on e-bay shows that most anyone can live without credit. My little cottage industry will never borrow from the credit card robber barons. And yes, I have made a few dollars here and there doing restoration work.

Now it is time to get off the soap box.

I love this guy. There is a sense he knows something we don't. Osh Kosh was defiantly the style down yonder
I'm not sure but this might be from the 1950's only because the glasses are what my classmates adorned during my school days.
Now wouldn't you have straightened out his tie if you were the photographer. Well straight or crooked at least he had a smile for the camera man.
I detect a little Cherokee in her blood which was not uncommon for families in that area to have American Indian in their blood.
Two boys. Two bibs. Two struggle to smile. Like the last post it seems like families doubled up to save money on school photos. Would I wanted my older brother to be in my picture. Hmm, probably so.
Got to love these boys.
Equal time for all races here. A new set of choppers was likely on his wish list.
I think this is a 1950's picture also but it may have been an earlier photo
The two sisters show the same economical depression as the boys. They had bibs and the girls had home made clothing
Back to the 1950's? I'm sorry we are jumping through the stratosphere of time but when I receive a gift of photos then they are cleaned up and put here. Some had dates, some not. Sorry, none had last names.
This lad would have done well to straighten up his tie in order to hide the safety pin on his shirt. Still the crooked tie does make the photo look very boyish.
Ahh, suspenders. A step up from bibs. I don't know, never wearing them, though I did have several nice pair of designer bibs over the years. Loved them
Sorry, no smile today.
In the last batch I had the bruised girl who you could read like a map. Here we go again. Now if one of them smiled I could say the frown was just a fluke. But this picture tells its own story

We end the school days page with the one who got left behind. If looks could kill. Come on mom, send her to school.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I am a bit late on my promised School Days issue of Shadows of America. I can peel off numerous excuses for being rather slow on posting--but if you are followers of this site you know my latest gig on restoring photos is still on the learning curve. Between battering my hard head against the desk because my vintage 2003 Sony computer is slowing down to crawl, so much that even I can move faster than it and whoopee, getting a few paying gigs caused this site to grow a few cobwebs.

What we have today is a pile of school photos, plus a couple that are not school related, but since they are too cute the pictures had to find a home here. Likely your first reaction on viewing the pictures would be, yikes, I remember my school photos! The companies that traveled from school to school never heard of photo retouching or imagined something like Photo Shop. How many of us were Hollywood material? Ahem, be truthful. I was the school dwarf, in the fact I was the second smallest pigeon toed, knock kneed, skinniest kid in elementary school who became the amazing growing bean sprout in my freshman year.

My 81 year old friend Jack gave me these photos which date from 1928 to early 1932. Likely all the pictures came from from Southern Ohio near the West Virginia border which was an Appalachian area. Part two of the school kids, which I hope to have up in the next couple of days show the opposite of what we see in today's school photos. Children often wore homemade clothing and bibs to get their mug shots. The photos we see were likely the only pictures the family could afford.

In many of the school photos you will see more than one child at the sitting. I can not be sure why, perhaps it was cheaper to double up with two family members to save money, which in this case, being an Appalachian area was likely the reason. Perhaps it was fashionable back then to have to siblings in one pose.

Did Jay Leno grow up in the Appalachians? Is it just me or do you see the similarity. Just a reminder as we go through the pictures, all the photos went through two stages of restoration before they were posted. First the scanner cleaned up the pictures a bit, then the photos all went through a mild Photo Shop clean up to remove smudges and fingerprints.

Dare we forget the teachers? Here we have the typical Mrs Crabtree. This photo almost got tossed because it had ink stains all over the top but it cleaned up pretty nice. I am sure she told her students to clean up nice for the photographer so it is only fitting I do the same. The face of my teachers are well embedded in my mind but I have no pictures of them

Handsome young man indeed..

One thing I have learned from this new adventure of restoring photos is beware of overkill. It is easy to attack every visible flaw , but one must remember that you are restoring not re-shooting the photo. After spending hours on do-overs, I often ended up erasing the whole mess and started all over because it looked terrible.

Nearly every photo here had only enough touch-up to to erase old marks and scratches. I have a few secret touches that make the photo look brand new and crisp. True, many photos dug out of grandma's trunk have issues because of the type of camera or age of the photo but every photo brings its own challenge. But photos like these are a lot nicer than the original but like a little work goes a long way.

What would happen if a student showed up in an old pair of bibs today? It was not an issue back then. Likely that was all he had to wear and as you can see they certainly were not a new pair. Still, he was a nice handsome young man who did after all comb his hair.

I don't think all kids liked to have their brother in the picture. Maybe the boy on the left just didn't want his picture taken. You can say he just didn't want to smile, but look at those furrowed eyebrows.

Alright, I could have Photo Shopped this to be Alfred E. Nueman and his popular "What me worry," look. Like I said early on, we were not charming or handsome. That is what I like about kids, they were pretty much candid and posing often may have been uncomfortable but smiles or frowns made the shot.

Often you could see deep in the soul of a child through a photo. When I started to clean up this young girl's picture I debated whether or not to remove the wound on her forehead as well as the black eye on the right side. I did clean up the eye a tad bit, but I could not clean up her thoughts. I wouldn't dare. Where did the wounds come from? I have my ideas.

I have often seen pictures that make tears well up in my eyes. This photo makes me want to reach into the photo and give her a big hug. Enough of my emotional commentary.

I said there was two photos that didn't fit the page. Maybe I can make it just one photo by saying these two kids were on their way to the one room school house where brother and sister disappeared to every day. The photos came from the same area so they got tossed on to the page.

Like I said, every photo needs its own touches to bring out the best. This picture took a bit of work to make it look new and crisp. One thing I do when I restore is look for the new version of the picture. Some people like to make a new picture look old by applying sepia tone. In restoring a photo I take away the sepia that time put on the picture. In most cases the sepia tone was not part of the photo. If the customer wants the aged look I can do that. Once the aged look disappears you have the photos that the previous owner had on the mantle once upon a time.

This photo I discovered was taken by a traveling photographer who roamed the countryside with the pony in tow. When a business would give him permission he set up the camera and waited for customers. I have talked to many older seniors who remembered the traveling photographer.

When I saw this photo I thought that was one lucky girl who owned her own pony. Didn't we all want our own pony?

Any photo seen on this site are available in a 5 x 7 format for $10 each. And yes, I do retouching. Tell me what you have for an estimate.

If you have a photo you think would look good here let me know.