Bob Rosinsky from Top Dog Imaging walks through the extraordinary process of restoring a badly damaged 1870s tintype (such as the Billy the Kid image that was the subject of a recent record-setting auction) using modern, high-tech techniques, such as a polarized strobe and ultra-high-rez camera. He hints at even more advanced techniques employing X-rays, UV and infra-red light.
My standard operating procedure is to use an ultra-high resolution camera combined with a top-of-the-line macro lens to photograph tintypes. I use strobe lights to illuminate the artwork. Strobes produce "hard" light, much like the sun on a clear day. In addition to the strobes, I place a polarizer over the camera lens and polarizer gels over the strobe lights. This eliminates all reflections and enables the camera to pick up a greater tonal range along with more detail...
One advantage of using a scanner to digitize a tintype is that it will smooth out surface imperfections and micro details thus reducing the amount of time it takes the retouch artist to produce a clean, albeit low fidelity, image -- somewhat analogous to hearing a Beethoven symphony on AM radio.
Over at Display, Graphic designer Richard Danne tells the story of the fantastic “worm” logo he and partner Bruce Blackburn created for NASA in 1974. It was used for almost twenty years until the NASA administrator Dan Goldin unfortunately reinstated the previous “meatball” logo, developed in 1959.
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