I studied photography for 4 years in the Czech Republic where we learned all
the aspects of photography from picture taking, to developing the final image. At
that time the "Communist Czech" was a little behind the rest of the "modern" world.
We learned mostly about B+W photography, but I must say, to the last detail. We used
large 5x7 B+W negatives and big "old fashion" studio cameras with bevels and balloon
trigger. We learned how to develop negatives. We retouched them (with very fine sharpened
pencils) and developed beautiful photos. My favorite thing was the part after taking
the picture - developing and retouching. You had to have a very "light hand" and
the right technique to retouch the negatives, so it would not be noticeable on the
print. We also hand colored B+W photos and touch up spots on photos. So that is how
my "passion" with retouching started.
After immigrating to Canada, I went to work for a photo studio in Kelowna where
I took photos, developed and retouched them. I had to learn everything about color
photography. I knew the basics from school, but it was not enough. The retouching
of color photos and negatives was different from what I knew. You use special dyes
to do that. It was not that hard to learn and then I started to restore old photos.
Copied them, developed, retouched the negative, then printed and retouched the photos.
It was a very long process but the results always looked good.
After getting a computer and a digital camera I started to be intrigued with the
digital imaging. I learned how to use Adobe Photoshop and tried to fix some of the
damaged photographs. The results were great and without the long, developing process.
I learned that you can do so much more than just retouch scratches. I can change
backgrounds, take people out of photos or scan very faded images and make them visible
again, and much more.
And with my background in the old photography process, I still know how to make my
photos look like they were developed in the darkroom or hand colored. Making them
look as they looked years back, when they were new. And to see the happy customers
is the best reward.