In 2009, I started researching my family history. Soon I was researching the fortunes and misfortunes of my German great grandad Frederick who, having made his fortune in Burma, was forced to flee to India following the invasion of the Japanese; the tragic life of British great grandma Jayne who, by the age of 23, had already buried three husbands; the mysterious origins of Portuguese Grandfather Candido, who was abandoned at a doorstep of a rich doctor, on Christmas Eve; to mention but a few.
Photographs became a huge part of my newly found obsession, but I was sad to find that photos were scarce, and often in very bad condition. I searched for restoration services, but they all required me to part with my precious originals, and there was no way on earth I was prepared to do that!
So, combining my advanced IT skills with my Fashion History interest and Art skills, I started exploring and developing ways of not only restoring and retouching old photos, but also adding carefully researched colour, enabling us to see the people in old photos, just like they saw themselves and each other. In 2017, I started interacting with genealogists across the world via social media and, after sharing one of my pieces online, I was flooded with requests for help with old photos. Realising I could help others and feed my passion, I quit my job as a Marketing Director and launched “The Photo Alchemist”.
A Norwegian Family in 1905
Now I spend my days digitally bringing to life photos from clients all over the world, without the need for them to part with their precious originals. But the best part of my job is getting to know other people’s family histories and being trusted with precious family photos, often considered lost causes.
A couple in World War One