Aug 162017

It’s not often that I add a new paper to our inventory. If you’ve ever visited our “basement” office, you know space is at a premium so I’m pretty picky about what I stock. For those who use the very popular Museo Max, our newest addition, Hahnemuhle’s Bamboo, offers a similarly smooth surface with a warmer white point (83 vs Museo’s 91) and a heftier weight (290 gsm vs 250 gsm for Museo).

Hahnemuhle’s Bamboo is made from 90% bamboo fibers and 10% cotton, with no optical brighteners added, and is guaranteed to meet archival standards. The use of bamboo makes this paper a much more environmentally-friendly medium.

Bamboo is the world’s first digital fine art inkjet paper made from bamboo fibers. Bamboo represents spirituality, naturalness and resource-saving paper production. Particularly suitable for warm-toned color and monochrome prints, Bamboo really highlights the sensuality of images.

Pricing is the same as Museo Max, so if you have a piece of art that will benefit from the warmer feel of this quality watercolor paper, give it a try.

…and we’re back

 Posted by at 4:16 PM
Aug 072017

No need to go into the long and harrowing story of how we got here, but even the most casual observer will have noted that posts from this site have been absent for a while. Let’s just say that we had some “technical difficulties.”

So this is just a quick little note to let you know that posts will resume directly, and that you can now see our inventory of available restored historic images from Swampscott, Salem, and even Marblehead at our eBay store:

And you now also have the opportunity to like our Facebook page, where I also post hopefully interesting things from time to time.

Bring some art to breakfast

 Posted by at 6:24 PM
Dec 202015

Looking for a gift that says Salem? Take a look at Jeanne Pare’s mugs that reproduce her detailed Salem scenes. $20 for a 15oz, $27 for a 20 oz. Call at 978-771-7239 or email at


Reproducing Legacy Images I

 Posted by at 1:46 PM
Jan 292015

We all have ’em. Old pictures; faded, sometimes folded, maybe ripped, missing a corner, rudely marked with a ball point pen, scratched, poked, stained. Sometimes the only remaining physical image of a loved one long gone, sometimes a favorite snapshot taken on the spur of the moment (and if only that guy in foreground hadn’t been there). Legacy images are hard prints that have no ancestry… no negative, certainly no digital file; wispy figments that give our memories some substance.

And there is the artwork left behind. Watercolors, oils, and pencil drawings of people and places that suddenly take on new meaning when the artist has passed. Images hung for years in forgotten corners, stored in the back of a closet, under a bed, or stacked in the attic. Suddenly, everyone in the family wants it.

Legacy images frequently come with a lot of baggage. Many times, they are part of an inheritance; a singular treasure sought after by those left behind. Sometimes they become the symbol of a sibling rivalry still unresolved. After years of working with these type of images, I think we’ve seen all of the above.

In order to reproduce any image, it needs to be digitized. So, the first consideration for reproduction of legacy prints (images which have no negative or digital file available) is size. Most easily accessible flatbed scanners max out at about 12″x18″. If the original is larger than this size, it will most likely have to be photographed. I’ll talk about that process and its pitfalls in a later post, so for now let’s assume you’ve got a print that fits into the 12″x18″ space.

Next question we’re likely to ask is what the original is printed on? Is it an old photograph that’s loose or a photo that was mounted and hand painted? Is it framed, was it matted, can we take it apart? The best results in flatbed scanning require that the image lays perfectly flat on the glass. Many old images are printed (or mounted) on curved surfaces. These types of curved surfaces are never going to scan perfectly on a flatbed.

Many old photos have simply been placed in a frame under glass with no matte. This is a red flag for scanning. If any moisture has manged to get between the image and the glass, there’s quite possibly mold feasting on the emulsion. If it’s a photo that is pressing up to the glass, even without any moisture, a chemical reaction is possible between the glass and the print. It’s one of the reasons we always recommend using a matte for any print going under glass, to keep the surface of the print from contacting the glass.

We frequently see a photo stuck to the glass. I recently was asked to reproduce an old color photo stuck to the glass in a frame. The proper way to handle this is to add a little liquid detergent (I used Photo-Flo) to some warm water and soak the glass with the print attached in that solution in a flat tray. (Have patience.) In this case, we not only freed the print from the glass, we discovered two other prints stuck to the back of the original print that the customer didn’t realize were there. Seems Mom just kept putting a new print over the old one. All the prints were in amazingly good shape after allowing them to dry on a flat surface.

As long as we can put the image flat on the scanner, we probably can get a decent scan. For images that can’t be taken out of the frame, a camera shot will have to made. It’s possible to flatbed scan through glass but the process is a bit tricky.

The first time you take your prints out of the envelope and look at them, you are probably damaging them. Each time you flip through them, like a deck of cards, you are causing little specks of the emulsion to flake off. Most aren’t readily visible to the naked eye, but they will show up on a scan, especially if you elect to make the image larger. Put it in your wallet and you are asking for trouble later on when you want to make a copy. The combination of heat, abrasion, and pressure can ruin the image. So keeping your old photos in a stack is a sure way to gradually make them worse. And for goodness sake, don’t write on the back of your photos with a ballpoint pen. This writing will invariably show up in a scan as if you wrote on the face of the print, backwards. If you must write on the back of a print, use a felt tip marker or very soft pencil with a light touch.

Polaroid prints pose a special challenge. Many were unevenly “fixed,” some were never “fixed” (that’s the wet swipe you were supposed to make on the print after you separated it from the backing).  How well they were handled after that separation will determine how well they will scan.

I’m often approached by someone with a box of prints they want to “put on disc.” Maybe 50 or 100 or more. My advice is always the same: buy a scanner. If you have a lot of prints that are in good shape (not faded or damaged, too dark or too light), any good quality scanner (many of which are available for about $100 or so) will do a reasonable job of digitizing them. Granted, it will take you a while, but it will still be cheaper than paying someone else to do it. If you have some prints that don’t fit into the “good quality” framework; prints that have color that needs to be corrected, are too dark or too light or that you plan to enlarge, those are the ones you might want to have someone like me scan on a more robust scanner.

Scanning on a device like our Scitex Eversmart Pro is a complicated, time-consuming process. While any scanner can scan at a high enough resolution for reproduction, what makes our scanner more effective than what you might purchase at your local Best Buy is it’s ability to discern a greater number of shades of color, and thus detail, in very light or very dark areas. This measurement of a scanner’s ability, often referred to as “D-Max,” is the reason some scanners cost hundreds and others cost in the 5-figure range. The other big advantage of the Scitex is the very robust software interface it uses, allowing a broad range of quality enhancing operations as part of the scanning process.

These days most people have moved to digital platforms. But many of the photos we took decades ago are starting to fade and disappear. As the price of film and processing dropped, the quality and permanence of the prints we got dropped as well. It’s time to take a look at those pictures of mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, and assess how they are faring. Scanning them while they are still in good shape can save the image and money at the same time.




Feb 192014

Two new images added today. In Salem section, the third Horribles Float, “Sheik of Scare-Um and Hay-Rum,” is yet another of the “Juniper Point Circus” series. These are a fun look back at how Salem celebrated the 4th.

The Swampscott image added, “Red Rock” is an iconic view of Red Rock park and the Boston skyline beyond, except that there is no skyline. This restored image from a glass plate negative shows an undeveloped shoreline looking south.

More images added regularly!


Print Reproduction 101

 Posted by at 1:45 PM
Feb 182014

Want to know what the process is to reproduce your artwork as marketable prints? Along with Al Mallette, a Beverly photographer, I will be leading a seminar at the Marblehead Arts Association on February 27 at 7:00.

There is a $10 fee for members, $12 for non-members.

We’ll be discussing how the process works and the costs involved from digitizing your original art to creating saleable reprints. Al will be outlining what’s involved in capturing the image, with helpful hints if you plan on doing it yourself. I’ll be explaining what happens to the digitized file when its printed and what other marketing opportunities exist for your art.

For more information about the Marblehead Arts Association, visit

See you there!


Feb 182014

We’ve added two Salem and one Swampscott pictures to our on-line catalog.

In Salem, we added “Juniper Circus,” one of our earliest restorations and “Cyclists,” a great photo of unicylists with classic handlebar mustaches.

The 1926 4th of July celebration in Salem was special…it also celebrated the 300th anniversary of Salem’s founding by Roger Conant. Juniper Point (Salem Willows) sent a huge contingent (reportedly 100 strong) to the “Antiques, Horrible and Grotesque Parade.” This event was an annual competition with the winner getting the prodigious sum of $100. With the theme of “Under the Big Top,” “Juniper Circus” was one of the floats that was entered. They won first prize. We have previously posted the “Freaks” float and will soon be adding the “Sheik of Scare-Um and Hay-Rum,” another of the group of winning floats.

The “Cyclists” photo has five unicylists with their huge, graceful bikes. Three of the young men have classic handlebar mustaches, one has a chest full of medals, another with just a few, and a cyclist trophy decorated with minature unicylists on a low table. These guys were serious.

In Swampscott, we added a great shot of two Swampscott policemen posing with an early model police car. There are several photos of both Police and Fire Department personnel and apparatus in the collection.

We’re just getting started with listing our Swampscott photos so stay tuned!


Feb 062014

Two new images have been added to our restored Salem prints on-line listing. “Abandoned” is a photo of a building that was already old when the image was shot around the turn of the century. Light, shadows and textures enhance the effects of New England weather on this structure. “Champions” is a 1922 photograph of the Naumkeag baseball team with their championship trophy.

A whole new page has been added to the Restored Print tab for our Swampscott images. Most of these are restored from glass plate negatives dating to around 1850. The larger format and fine grain of these plates make them excellent original image sources. The images are captured on a high resolution flatbed scanner, retouched to balance exposure, repair damaged and missing areas (sometimes piecing together broken segments), and then reproduced as digital archival prints.

Two images were posted today, two of my favorites. “Puritan Elms” is a restored glass plate of the graceful Elms that once lined Puritan Lane. Most were destroyed by storms. This image hearkens back to a more leisurely road and a simpler time. The “Blaney Beach Fish House” print is a photo of Swampscott’s iconic Fish House when it was a lot newer. It’s a great example of how much things have changed and how much they look the same. Even a quick glance and you know the image: the Fish House. But look closer… no dock, no parking field, no benches; horse and buggy parked in foreground…the same, only quite different.

This print is also one that features “ghosts” on the beach. The long exposures required on these glass plates usually failed to capture people and things moving quickly but sometimes created these “ghosts” of people walking very slowly, or boats being pulled out by the tide. Actual prints are clear enough to see details of structures all along the beach.



“P&Q Shop” added

 Posted by at 2:00 PM
Jan 222014














“Just Two Prices… Two Just Prices,” that was the appeal of the P&Q Shop for men and women. $10 and $15 were the “Two Just Prices” and the products included dresses, suits and overcoats! This print is clear enough to read the tags on the items in the window. We’re not sure of the location, although Essex Street would be a good guess.


Jan 162014

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to update this site, and we have come a long way. Starting this week, we’ll be adding new images regularly to our site. These images will be available for sale as museum-quality digital archival prints (giclée).

While the images on the site will necessarily be a rather low resolution, prints from their high resolution files can be enlarged substantially with no loss of quality. You can read the price tags in the shop windows, count the buttons on the fireman’s jacket, and find candid vignettes of turn-of-the-century life everywhere.

There are photos, post cards, maps and print ads ranging from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s. Sometimes, we’ll have a lot of information about the image, sometimes all we have is a picture. We scan them on a high resolution scanner, retouch scratches and missing pieces, balance density and reprint on a high resolution printer. We have sold these prints over the last several years strictly on a referral basis but now want to offer them to a wider audience.

Our Salem listing is already growing; it will soon be followed by our Swampscott images. We’ve created a new email account just for print ordering: All prints can be on semi-gloss photo paper, watercolor paper or canvas and can also be produced as note cards.

FreaksOur latest addition is called “Freaks.” It is one of several images connected with the 1926 Fourth of July Celebration in Salem. The celebration that year in Salem was special… it also celebrated the 300th anniversary of Salem’s founding by Roger Conant. Juniper Point (Salem Willows) sent a huge contingent (100) to the “Antiques, Horrible and Grotesque Parade.” The parade was an annual competition with the winner getting the prodigious sum of $100. With the theme of “Under the Big Top,” this was one of the floats they entered… and won first prize. There are several other images of some of the other floats I’ll be posting in the future.