When I was with 94-year-old my mother last weekend, helping her pack up to move into residential care, she gave me a fairly awful black and white photograph of the parish church in the town in which I grew up. The church is St Mary the Virgin at Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Recognising the style of the print I know the photo was taken by my mother, probably in the early 1970s, from the park opposite the church. What's more she printed it herself on her home-made enlarger. Just the fact that she made the enlarger and got semi-decent prints from it is in itself amazing! But that's my mother: at one point over the weekend I asked her if there was anything she hadn't ever made; she had to think and finally the only thing she could come up with was canework. If it's anything much else to do with art and craft she's tried it - I salvaged from the bungalow a box full of her pottery and several portfolios of paintings, many dating from over 60 years ago!
Anyway here is a straight scan of the totally nondescript 11x16cm print ...
Not being one to waste a good image having scanned it, I played around with it in Paint Shop Pro (which for most things I find easier than Photoshop). Here is the scanned image dressed up as an 1840s Daguerreotype and then as an 1870s Albumen print.
What a difference five minutes work makes.
When I've got my new photo printer I shall have to send, or take, my mother copies. Knowing her she will then frame them! Having moved her into the care home last Monday afternoon, I went to see her at 10am the following morning. I found her with a small table already set up, a Stanley knife in her hand, in the middle of reframing a photograph of her late dog. Yes, she's 94!