Brooks Walker photographed this mid-70's landscape on early C-41 (Kodacolor II) color negative film, a relatively unstable material. The original negative (top figure) has faded very severely — most of the yellow dye and easily half of the cyan are gone. The fading is also uneven across the negative. The negative has some light scratches but no serious mechanical damage.

This negative is unprintable by conventional means (lower left). The best possible darkroom color print is still very low in contrast, too dark, and suffers from extreme and uncorrectable color distortion, with purple shadows and green highlights.

Repairs primarily involved restoring the proper density and contrast to the cyan and yellow dye images. Because there was uneven fading, the repairs were applied selectively with different strengths in different parts of the image. Once the image had an overall approximation of correct contrast and color, scratches and dirt specks were removed. Careful local-area adjustments were made to the curve shapes, hue, and saturation, in consultation with the photographer, to accurately restore the color and tonal values in the water and foliage.

(Time to restore: approximately six hours.)

copyright © 2003 by Ctein. All rights reserved