December 4, 2022

Fotograpiya

Capturing Magic Moments

Found and restored glass plates from 1910 show the positive influence of pets on our lives

2 min read

I think we all know that pets can make our lives so much better. While today we have pet clothing, hotels, bakeries, and of course photo contests, people 100 years ago weren’t as devoted to their pets as we are today. Or was it them?

Mathieu Stern explored a number of Victorian-era glass prints. He spent hours in Photoshop giving them a new life, but in the process he discovered something interesting. It seems that the people in these photos viewed their pets as family members, just as we do today.

recovery of the images

Mathieu spent hours browsing the David Knights-Whittome collection of glass plate negatives held at Sutton Archives, UK. He “scanned” the negatives using a tablet as a light source and his Sony A7III with the Laowa 15mm f/4 macro lens. Two of the 1910 plates were candidates for restoration. After inverting them in Photoshop, Mathieu spent hours carefully cleaning them up.

After that, Mathieu relied on AI to enhance the facial detail in both photos. He also tried coloring them using AI – but the result was pretty lame. So it was back to Photoshop for Mathieu, where he patiently colored the images to give them the final look.

Before and after face beautification

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Pets in Victorian photos

“In the early years of photography, it was very expensive to have your portrait taken,” writes Mathieu. “That’s one of the reasons why people looked cold and emotionless.” I would say the main reason was longer exposure times. But since the photos were indeed rare and expensive, you didn’t want to screw up your only chance at a decent shot, so keeping a straight face was a sure thing.

But Mathieu noted that some of the negatives included people and their pets. And these photos were different. When taking pictures with their pets, people smiled. And even if she didn’t, her face would still glow and you could see that in photos. I mean how can you not smile with a kitten or a puppy next to you?

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“At the beginning of the 20th century, people began to reconsider their relationship with animals,” writes Mathieu. “Pets were considered family members.” And that’s still the case today. Many of us see pets as family, they still give us so many smiles, and you know what’s the best? We get to take so many more pictures of them than people did in the Victorian era!

[110-year-old Photo Brought To Life Using AI Technology | Mathieu Stern]

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