National Archives: Photoshop Often Gets A Bad Rap

Photoshop often gets a bad rap when it comes to doctoring photos.


Photoshop often gets a bad rap when it comes to doctoring photos but this post from our colleagues in Preservation shows how it can play a crucial role in recovering some vitally important documents.  (Literally — these records can be the key to often urgent and essential veterans’ benefits.)


Now You See It

Nearly 40 years after the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, work continues on the preservation of the fire-damaged records (affectionately known as the B-Files). This work takes place at our St. Louis Preservation office, and includes both conservation and reformatting of the documents.

At first, you may think that the written information located in the heavily burned area is unrecoverable. But with the use of Adobe Photoshop we can manipulate a digital image of the burned document to accentuate subtle differences in tones and make the burned area readable.

Our Reformatting Lab is in the planning stages of a project that will use infrared sensing cameras to photograph burned documents. It will be less labor intensive than the Photoshop process and will produce better quality images.

Please leave your thoughts. Sometimes the only way one can find the truth is to examine all possibilities.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s