Why restore old photos? Sometimes it seems the cracks and wrinkles, dents and bends add to the story of an image. I appreciate the sentiment behind that, especially since I often take new photos and "add age" to them to enhance their atmosphere, story, and cohesiveness. However, there are times when restoring an old photograph is part of the story itself. It can be a sign of respect, a way to keep the original around, to display the image without contributing to the original image's decay, to share an image, and to bring life back into a family heirloom or historically significant photograph.
I felt the "Before" image shown was worth restoring. It is a photo of my husband's mother (a rare one, as she doesn't like having her photo taken). We would like to see this image passed on to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I have a photo of my grandmother at the same age as this, and it is a most treasured item, so I would like all of the kids to have one of their grandma, too. She spent much of her life caring for them, listening to them, chasing them around, worrying about them, and occasionally having her heart broken by them, and this photo depicts her before her life story was determined, when kids weren't in the picture and grandkids and great grandkids were decades away (see how well rested she looks?! LOL). This photo will not only be reprinted on its own, but it will go into a bound photo-book as one of the images depicting the Lattin family history. Therefore, it is worth the time and effort to remove the scratches, bends, dirt, discoloration, and add depth and richness into the photo.
The original will continue to be stored safely out of light and heat and moisture to give it the longest life possible. But restoring it allows everyone to enjoy the photo and their memories of her in their lives no matter how far apart they live or how many years go by. And, hopefully they will pass it on with their stories to their children and grandchildren.