The joys of Photoshop

I’ve recently acquired Adobe Photoshop for my home computer, and I must admit I’m loving it. Part of the benefit is that playing around with contrast levels and so on can help to clarify images which have faded from the surface of a vessel. For example, the Leeds City Museum collection includes a sherd of a Mycenaean vessel with a figure which is now very indistinct. The Photoshopped version doesn’t suddenly restore it to perfection, but it does make it slightly easier to see what’s there.

Mycenaean sherd
© Leeds Museums and Galleries

Mycenaean sherd (edited)
© Leeds Museums and Galleries

Admittedly part of the problem is my less than perfect photographic technique, so it is helpful to have software to compensate.

I think it’s very difficult to identify the right balance between conservation and restoration in dealing with ancient artefacts. Playing around with images digitally, where it has no impact on the vessel itself, is an interesting way of exploring this.