When someone told me that they'd discovered an album of Victorian photographs, I got excited. Sadly, the actual pictures were a rather disappointing collection of faded images all smaller than the palm of my hand:
But thanks to Photoshop, even a print as unpromising as the one above can be transformed:
Admittedly, this probably isn't the most fascinating image I've come across (although I find it benignly soporific). However, some of the others are more interesting:
This picture may not immediately strike you, but zoom in and it comes alive:
In the photograph below, closer scrutiny reveals a figure in the hallway, a cat in the alley and a smiling Victorian:
I can also detect the trace of a smile in this photo:
Frustratingly, with photos as small as these (which were contact prints from the negatives), the resolution can be improved to a point where you have a tantalising glimpse of people's faces, but no more. Further magnification simply produces a blur.
This street scene and the one below were taken in France or Belgium, but I have no idea where.
Finally, my favourite photograph from the album:
This still life of a mantlepiece and its surroundings fascinates me. Its cluttered look is from an age in which most people had relatively few possessions, cherishing what they had, displaying them with pride.
My comparatively minimalist sitting room only has a couple of photos on display. The rest are on various hard drives, which will be completely redundant when civilisation collapses in 2027.