Killed Photos (I Resurrect a Few… Please View)

Some of the greatest American photographers of the depression era had their work “killed” by a nutbag editor named Roy Stryker. He rejected submitted photos by punching a hole through the negative. We’ll call this hole the “a-hole.”

What the hell?

Ben Shahn said,

“Roy was a little bit dictatorial in his editing and he ruined quite a number of my pictures, which he stopped doing later. He used to punch a hole through a negative. Some of them were incredibly valuable.”
Here are 3 photos with the a-hole in them.
I just couldn’t sit still. I had to restore them. I’d like nothing more than to be contacted by the curator and get the assignment of restoring these photos as best I could.
killedphotos-3
killedphotos-3a
killedphotos-27 killedphotos-27b
killedphotos-40akilledphotos-41c
more ruined photos HERE
ht/ illustr8r

16 Comments on Killed Photos (I Resurrect a Few… Please View)

  1. I can see why he put a hole through those photos. And, it looks like the hole punch went straight to the part of the photo that he thought was defective, which explains why the photos look so good with the hole but not amazing without the hole.

  2. Wow, BFH, what a find. I love this stuff. Who was this communist asshole? Easy to ignore the hole punch.
    Americana at it’s finest.

  3. I think we should dig up the rotten corpse of that a**HOLES” tyrannical, waste of human flesh and sell the privilege of putting bullet holes in his sorry, sanctimonious ass like he did the historical pictures he desecrated for his own self aggrandizing pleasure. Leave it to a worthless, federal government myrmidon to destroy the little bits of photographic history that he used taxpayer money to capture in the first place.

  4. And a very good job of repairing the photos above BFH. I noticed a couple in the gallery that was linked that even I could repair. I’ve spent the last couple of years off and on scanning and restoring family pictures and I would honestly strangle a worthless SOB that did this to the relatively few pictures that exist of many family members if he were still living. Luckily, that asshole never envisioned the technological advancements that would allow talented people to repair his selfish tantrums with a hole punch.

  5. BFH restored an old photo of a man’s face, who was a friend of my grandmother’s family back in the mid 40s. He was one of my mom’s favorite people back when she was a toddler. My mom is in the picture wearing a big bow in her hair and wearing a cute little dress, which I never knew had a floral pattern on it until it was restored. So cool!

    She was so thrilled when she saw the photo all fixed up! It’s blown up, framed and sitting on top of her fireplace mantle.

    Thanks again, BFH! 😀

  6. And he can kiss mine an all my ancestor’s ass areas too MJA. I really am amazed at how a high resolution scan can capture things that I can’t see with the naked eye in old photos. Much less how someone that knows what they are doing with the software can bring an old, damaged picture back to near perfection.

  7. It’s an interesting era for photography. Last year I bought a Graflex Super D like the one Dorothea Lange made famous during the depression though I’ve not shot it much.

    During this same period Asshole Adams (Ansel to others) was making it his life’s work to ruin one of my favorite photographers; Wiliam Mortensen.

  8. wow, BFH, you got skillz.

    I sincerely hope they have you fix more of them, for some significant cash.

  9. These are amazing. Well done!

    I looked at the whole lot. GREAT find.
    It’s interesting that the subjects were effected by the depression equally. That the photographer didn’t have some agenda and only photographed poor Blacks, or poor Whites. The little girl with her ripped up stockings, and the best dressed dude was a Black preacher.

  10. BFH,
    Awesome repair work. This is why I LOVE technology. Even if you can only do it for free on your own time, keep at it. Gorgeous work.

  11. I lasso the area that needs filling and then move that lasso to an area of the photo that is similar and copy that area.
    Then I paste it into place and adjust brightness/contrast until it matches the value.
    Then I flatten and simply repair that area as if it was a flaw in the original print.
    I find his method maintains the original pixel rate and grain, giving the photo more original integrity.

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