For over a decade Sebastian Wintermute has been providing those interested in preservation of visual history and ancestral legacy an opportunity to restore photographs, images and documents that otherwise would literally fade away with years. Through his hands went thousands of old pictures and faded pages, from camera obscura portraits of American settlers to NASA photo graphs and documents from the Apollo missions; from from documents signed by Presidents of the United Sates to snapshots of WWII GIs and musicians at the Woodstock Festival.

Many of the photographs and documents are brought to be restored in by neighborhood residents, others arrive from as far away as Europe and Asia. Some were lovingly kept in family albums, passed from one generation to the next, others were found in dusty attics and dirty basements. However, all of them contain great personal value as well as a visual history of people, their families and heritage. Working from a studio located on Manhattan's culturally vibrant Lower East Side, Sebastian helps to preserve their family histories and legacy.

Sebastian's knowledge of arts, photography and restoration techniques makes him a true expert in the field of photo restoration, while his deep knowledge and passion for history often turns seemingly simple restoration project into fascinating journeys of discovery of long forgotten names, places and events.

Because of his high professionalism Sebastian has been entrusted to restore and to preserve photographs and documents not only by individual clients nation wide, but also by some of the most prestigious and well-known companies and organizations in the country.

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PHOTO RESTORATION

Quality restoration done by an experienced professional returns photographs that are about to vanish forever back to near pristine condition, to be appreciated as originally intended and to be safely shared with family and loved ones.

The process begins with a consultation during which the damage to the photograph is assessed and the client is advised about which techniques might be required to bring the image back and what materials may be used to do that.

Restoration of old photographs, particularly those of the loved ones who are no longer with us, can be very personal and moving experience for many people. Sebastian appreciates and carefully listens and follows any suggestions and wishes expressed by clients and strives to fulfill all of clients instructions and expectations.

Factors taken into consideration include the image's physical condition and shape (rolled up photos will have to be flattened, stains and creases repaired, etc), and necessary requirements for a final print of a restored photograph. Based on that an estimate is produced and photograph enters the first stage of restoration process.

Photo restoration is a difficult and time consuming art form, especially when it comes to working with extremely damaged photographs on which important parts, particularly facial features are damaged or missing entirely. But even in such cases artistic expertise and experience working with historical photographs allows for successful undertaking and completion of even the most difficult restoration projects.

Producing a high quality scan is the first and an extremely important step in photo restoration. The quality of the scan determines the quality of the result. Discount photo restoration services may use low quality scanners or require the clients to scan photographs themselves in hope that whatever imperfections or problems it may cause could be later fixes in Photoshop. Sebastian Wintermute utilizes professional equipment and software to ensure that the scans made by him capture even the smallest details or the minute color variations needed for high quality photo restoration and art replication.

Prior to scanning the original is cleaned of any surface dust and residue. Scans are done at resolution of at least 600dpi if the image is to be reproduced at its original size. Higher resolution is used if the image is to be enlarged or used for fine art reproduction, publication or digital archiving.

With the high quality scan the repair and retouching of digital image begins. First contrast and brightness are adjusted to bring back faded tones to the original levels. Next, close magnification identifies the minute scratches, tears, ink spots and mildew marks. The damaged areas are carefully retouched and matched to the undamaged parts and areas.

While photo restorers rely on use of automatic options available with scanning and retouching software Sebastian feels there is no substitute for scrutiny in restoration; he carefully retouches the image replacing missing or damages parts with pieces taken from undamaged areas or by carefully replicating the details avoiding loss of quality and clarity associated with use of shortcuts.

After all damage has been repaired and the restored image meets client approval, a test print determines the correct settings and catches any areas that may require additional attention. If the test print is approved, a final print is made and trimmed according to client's specifications.

Restoration should not be a temporary fix. High quality printing is the key to the longevity of any restored photograph or document and Sebastian believes that only the supplies and materials that are guaranteed to last for generations should be used in this important step. All prints of the restored photographs are produced on fine art natural fiber acid free papers on a giclée printer. The manufacturers of paper and ink guarantee the prints to last for well over 150 years without fading if prints are to be displayed under normal conditions and for over 250 years if prints are kept in a proper archival environment.

Along with a print of the restored image each client can request a CD, DVD or a flash drive containing digital files that can be easily uploaded to a family website or shared on social media.

PHOTO RETOUCHING AND COLORIZATION

Some situations require photo retouching services beyond the realm of photo restoration. Applying color to black and white photographs adds a wonderful touch to vintage and modern photographs alike. Originally a very difficult and costly process involving application of oil paint and specialty coloring markers onto a photo print, it has now become more affordable with the advances of digital photo retouching and allows a wide variety of colors to be applied onto a digital image with extreme precision and without any possibility of damage to the original.

General photo retouching such as replacement of colors, head shot retouching, addition or removal from a photograph of objects or people, and changing overall appearance of an image, is done upon clients request and only on photographs with no historical or artistic value.

PHOTO SCANNING AND DIGITAL ARCHIVING

Growing interest in genealogy and preservation of family history sparked a high demand for archiving and sharing of old family photographs and documents. Unfortunately many companies that offer photo scanning services are not prepared to handle fragile heirloom photographs, documents, and family albums. Risks of loss or damages to originals are compounded when work is outsourced to offshore companies.

Sebastian Wintermute offers personalized service and guarantees safety of all material entrusted to him for restoration or archiving. Each item is scanned individually eliminating the risk of damages that may be caused by an industrial automatic multi-page scanners. All scans are manually color corrected as required, minor dust and scratches are carefully reduced without lowering image sharpness or quality.


Comparrisment of scans obtain with an offic scanner and a high-resolution professional scanner and specialized software.

Negatives and slides can also be scanned with client receiving a CD, DVD or a flash drive containing high resolution files suitable for printing copies of originals as well as files to be archived, used in video presentations, shared on social media or used on genealogy websites.

SPECIAL RESTORATION SERVICES

Restoration of photographs for publishing, documentary film production, genealogy and historical research. Fine art printing and high resolution archival photo scanning.

Many collections of historic photography and documents, while steeped in meaning and emotional value, are too fragile to handle or too delicate to display. Accurate reproductions can be easily reproduced and solve many of these issues. These faithful facsimiles facilitate display to wider audience as illustrations of institutions legacy or corporate history, or as meaningful fine art. Other clients who often find themselves in need of expert photography restoration are publishers of historical books and periodicals, documentary filmmakers and genealogy researchers and all others who appreciate attention to details and accuracy of high quality restoration.

Restoration or replication of photographs and documents is a delicate and demanding process that requires great skills and dedication. Because of his technical expertise, knowledge of the history and evolution of photographic techniques, and high quality results Sebastian Wintermute has been entrusted to restore photographs and documents not only by private clients nation wide, but also by some of the most prestigious businesses and institutions. His work appeared in many publications and displayed in distinguished institutions such as New York Fencers Club, Greek Orthodox Archdioceses, The Masonic Lodge of New York, and Boy Scouts of America.

His print and media credits include:

TV/Film Triangle: Remembering The Fire
The Lavender Scare
The Russian Woodpecker
YEVONDE: Be Original or Die!

Music

Natalie Merchant - "Leave Your Sleep"

Books

Thom Filicia - "American Beauty:
Renovating and Decorating a Beloved Retreat"

Jordan Auslander - "Weinstein-Postel: family origins"
Boruch Oberlander & Elkanah Shmotkin - "Early Years:
The Formative Years of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson"

 
Photograph of Josephine Carlisi, one of the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire is one of the images restored for HBO documentary film triangle: remembering the fire dedicated to 100th anniversary of that tragic event.
Restoration of historic WWII photograph, MacArthur and Eisenhower
Restoration of rolled-up photograph
Restoration of a photograph of old Plaza Hotel
 
 

Sebastian is a wizard. He can turn back the hands of time when he restores photographs.
Natalie Merchant

Sebastian Wintermute works modern tech-magic on vintage documents and photographs.
Thom Filicia - "American Beauty"

Sebastian did an excellent job preserving and restoring my family photos and documents. He was meticulous, attentive, and most important, trustworthy -- after all, I left irreplaceable family items in his care and he treated them as his own.

I strongly and without reservation recommend that you see Sebastian if you need preservation/restoration services; simply put, he's the best!
Lucas

Dear Mr. Wintermute,
The photographs are beautiful! You have done an amazing job.

You have managed to bring out the best in them - giving them a consistent look, in terms of brightness and contrast, while at the same time maintaining the individuality and unique nature of each one. Perfect!
Josh Howard
Producer, Director
"The Lavender Scare"

Super fast, professional, and a joy to work with. Sebastian helped us with a key photo for our documentary.

He worked during the holidays to meet our deadline, and he did an excellent job salvaging a damaged photo.
Chad Cracia
Producer
"The Russian Woodpecker"

What can I say? Sebastian is a miracle worker! His restoration of some very damaged photos, pre WWII, is nothing short of remarkable. His meticulous work has helped bring back to life my relatives who perished in the Holocaust. His work will be featured in the CD booklet for my humble project to remember my Uncle Norbert.
Roger Peltzman
Three Sons Learn How Their Mother Evaded Nazis - NYTimes.com

Sebastian restored an old family portrait (1918) that had become faded and actually broken into pieces. This picture was in a fragile state and so I was concerned about turning it over to anyone.I was very impressed not only with Sebastian's artistic capabilities in performing a flawless restoration, but also with the care and concern he showed both about the photo itself as well as my satisfaction with the final result.

The picture came out perfect, better than I could have imagined; so much so that whenever someone in the family sees it they usually want a copy, and so I have been running back to Sebastian to have him frame additional copies for me. I highly recommend Sebastian and am thankful that I chose him for this project.
Scott

So impressed by Sebastian's work - truly an artist at what he does. I found him on Yelp and gave him a very old Polaroid that was peeling and colors were faded, needless to say it required a lot a restoration.

Sebastian was extremely helpful and friendly. Finished the job quick and sent me updates of the progression of his work which was amazing! It was very clear he put a lot of time and effort into this project, and it showed. I'm very happy with his work and would definitely recommend him!
Jessica

Expert Photo Services. Went to Sebastian to restore old photos, and to digitalize childhood photos to use for a slide show and to display for my upcoming wedding.

Wasn't sure what to expect, but his pricing was fair, and I received everything on time, exactly when promised. Most importantly, everything turned out perfect! Sebastian is definitely talented, and does a great and professional job. Highly recommended!!
Rachel

Loved the work that Sebastian did on a 1778 newspaper I had. Great restoration and great scans; I recommend him highly!
Ryan


Sebastian does amazing work and if you have any photographs of value you wish to have printed or restored with the same care you would put into it, he is the man to call.
Matt

Sebastian,
I would just like to let you know how truly impressed I am with the outcome of the restoration services you provided. When I submitted my Civil War Discharge document I was nervous as this is a family treasure, thus very important to my family. Not only is the original restored and preserved magnificently, but the replication of this document is truly amazing. It mirrors and captures the look and feel of the original work. Without fail, it exceeded my expectations.

Furthermore, you frequent updates and research of this document during the period you preformed the restoration process was far more than outstanding. It allowed me to relax while my family relic was in your trust and care.

The work is simply beautiful and I know that it will be admired by friends and family for years to come. You have a customer for life!
Thanks,
Mike

I wanted to restore old, damaged, but precious photos with great sentimental value. I went toSebastian, told him what I wanted -- he did exactly what I wanted & more. Many of the photos were small, so he was able to enlarge & really pay attention to every detail, is also very gentle, mindful of fragile original photos.

Sebastian is very easy to work with, flexible & kind. His quality of work in restoration is: impeccable, faultless, more than amazing -- flawless.
Maria

During the production of our latest documentary we came across a cache of old negatives that were integral to our film.Some of the negs were 35mm, others were antique glass plate originals; some were black and white, some were color... unfortunately all were heavily scratched and in sorry shape after years of ill care.

Thankfully, Mr. Wintermute beautifully restored these priceless images to broadcast-quality and infinitely enriched our final piece.
Jesse Landberg
Producer
Homespun Films

Hi Sebastian,
I am the recipient of one of your works of art. For Christmas, my fiancee gave me a restored poster of my Dad, the poster was probably 40 years old. It was tattered, torn and generally in bad shape. It was a goofy poster of him at the grand opening of his then Enco station in Bishop, Texas.

Anyway, the poster meant the world to me, especially since he passed unexpectedly in 2001. When I saw the restored poster yesterday, tears streamed down my face from the emotion of what my fiancée had done as well as the unbelievable job you did recreating that poster to look brand new. It took me back 40 years! I don't know how you do it, but it's impressive. I will recommend you to anyone. What a wonderful way in which to honor and remember our loved ones! Thank you for making my Christmas present extra special. I will remember you as I come across other photos. Thanks again and Happy New Year!
Sincerely,
Melody

I just felt compelled to write to you and let you know what a great experience working with you and your company was.

I have a Navy Commission letter signed by President Lincoln. It is on velum which from what I understand is a difficult thing to work with. Needless to say it had seen its better days. I purchased it in a broken frame and glass with a ton of wrinkles in it.

I contacted several different companies, sent photos and my explanation of what I wished done. No one would touch it.
I came to you and you were more than willing to work with me. I can't say enough of how pleased I am with your performance in this.

It's not easy to trust someone you've never met with thousands of dollars worth of documents however you put me at ease and the final product was excellent.
Thanks again.
Sincerely,
Ron

What a wonderful job you done on the restoration of the 110 year old certificate we recently located in our family archives. The certificate was signed by future US President Theodore Roosevelt when he was Commissioner of the New York City Police Department. The purpose of the certificate was to appoint our ancestor as member of the Department.

In 1897, our ancestor was a recent immigrant to the United States. The certificate was torn, faded, darkened and carried just about every impediment to legibility which one could imagine. However, you proceeded diligently and with care to rejuvenate this 1897 document into nearly good as new condition. It was a pleasure to work with you.
Very truly yours,
David

Just a quick note of thanks and appreciation to let you know my document arrived back to me safely and soundly.

I am extremely pleased with the result, and I wanted to acknowledge my complete satisfaction with your service and the end product.

I've recommended your services to other friends in the space collecting hobby.
All the best,
Richard

A HUGE, enthusiastic rec commendation! I've brought in a few photos of my grandparents and great-grandparents, over the last year and have been truly amazed at their wonderful work. Most of these photos were in horrible shape: all over 100 years old, completely faded and discolored, riddled with mold spots, and one was actually in several pieces (the effects of sitting in attics and garages for decades I suppose).

The improvements made to these photos were astounding! I didn't think they could look so good. The restoration brought out so many details and facial features no longer discernible in the originals, while also maintaining the distinctive hues and tones of the originals. The photos made excellent Christmas presents this year and added some beautiful visual archives to my family's ancestry and history.
Chris

Do I need an appointment?

YES. Please CALL or   for an appointment.

How long does it take to restore a photograph?

In most cases it takes between 5 to10 business days to have a photograph restored. However, if a photograph is extremely damaged or if Sebastian is engaged in a large project, it may take a bit longer. It is particularly advisable that you bring in photographs to be restored well in advance of holidays such as Veterans Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

How much does it cost to restore a photograph?

Each restoration project is unique. Estimates can be provided only upon thorough examination of the original. The assessment is also made based on client's requirements for the final image: size, tone, even the lighting where the restored photograph will be displayed.

Though no price can be put on the experience of seeing an old and nearly gone photograph of loved ones being back to life, the actual cost can range from $80.00 to hundreds of dollars and more for museum quality restoration of a large print with extensive physical damage. But whatever the case, a client can be assured that the final result will be worth every penny.

To obtain an estimate, please make an appointment to have your photographs examined and to receive a comprehensive answers to any questions that you may have concerning all aspects of photo restoration.

Pro bono work and discounts are offered to survivors of Holocaust and combat veterans of WWII.

Can I send you a scan of a photograph to be restored?

Producing a high quality scan is the first and one of the most important steps in photo restoration. Unlike many discount photo restoration services that use low quality scanners in hope that later whatever imperfections of the scan, low resolution or color changes can be fixes in Photoshop, Sebastian Wintermute utilizes high quality equipment, to ensure capture of even the smallest details or the most minute color variations of the original that are needed for high quality photo restoration and art replication.

However, if you are unable to bring the original photograph to the studio or send it to be restored, you can e-mail or send a CD with high scan file of a photograph to be restored. Have a photograph scanned at a minimum resolution of 600dpi at full color setting, even if photograph is black and white, do not apply any color correction, scratch and dust removal, or any other filter that may change the appearance of the photograph.

I have a document signed by one of the president of the United States. The signature on the document is very faded. Is it possible to make the signature visible again?

Sebastian Wintermute does not modify, enhance or alter signatures or any other parts of legal documents and/or photographs that may have historical value or significance. However, it is possible to make a display copy of the document on which the faded signature will be made visible again.

Is it possible to fix a photograph that is in good condition but covered with some blue residue?

Most likely the photograph is displaying the signs of silver migration or “silver mirror” as it is commonly referred in photo restoration. Silver migration is the process opposite of formation of patina or layer of oxidation on the surface of silver or bronze objects. If a photograph was not properly processed, with time, molecules of free silver begin to appear near the surface creating a shiny layer.

Unfortunately there is not much that can be done to remove this layer. Some photo restorers suggest that a light coating of Vaseline can reduce the appearance of silver migration, but usually such treatment can lead to long-term irreversible damage to the entire photograph. The better solution is to produce a high quality scan of a photograph and to remove the damage by expert photo retouching.

Sebastian Wintermute has successfully restored many such photographs including those that came from the vast collection of historical photographs of New York City belonging to history associations and private collectors.

Can you restore an old photograph stuck to glass?

Depending on the extent of the damage a photograph can either be separated from the glass with a minimal loss or it can be restored by cleaning the glass surface, making a high resolution scan, digitally retouching the damaged areas, and making a high quality print to match the original photograph.

How do I flatten a rolled up photograph?

Restoration of rolled-up photographRestoration of a rolled up photograph or document is one of the most challenging and difficult of all restoration tasks. It is highly advisable that any photograph of value that has been rolled up and stored in such condition for a prolonged period of time is handled by a skilled restoration and conservation professional, otherwise a photograph will suffer additional distress or may be damaged beyond repair.

Sebastian Wintermute has extensive experience of restoring such photographs, from 1880 panoramic views on New York City to pictures taken at WWII military training camps. If you have a photograph that has been rolled up and that you would like to be restored, please  CALL or   for an appointment to have it examined.

Can you restore the original photograph instead of making a digital copy?

Traditional photo retouching service is offered on case-by-case basis. If an original photograph is damaged only slightly, it may still be possible to reduce the appearance of scratch marks and other imperfections by careful application of retouching spot tones.

The great misconception about photo restoration is that in the old times the true photo restorers whose art is forever lost were able to repair and restore an original photograph no matter how damaged it was. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though some damages such as scratches, minor blemishes or tears in the original photograph could and still can be retouched and repaired by a skilled restorer, anything more then that required making of a copy of the original photograph.

The usual procedure was to photograph the original image onto a special copy film such as Kodak Professional Copy Film 4125 that was designed for retouching. After a copy was made the photo restorer would carefully retouch the negative removing all visible signs of damages and imperfections by applying special retouching tools and pencils. After the negative was retouched it would be printed on photo paper, this producing a restored duplicate of the original damaged photograph.

Nowadays, instead of making a negative from the original photograph a digital file is created by scanning the photograph with a high quality photo scanner. After the digital file is retouched the restored image is printed on specially designed paper of higher quality and longevity then most of old fashion photo papers.

Is it possible to enlarge a small photograph?

With high resolution scanning and careful retouching and restoration a small photograph can be enlarger to 4x6 or even 8x10 size. Making a photograph much larger, as was done in enlarging thumbnail size digital images to fit a HD screen for the opening credits of the documentary "The Lavender Scare", is possible but usually requires a considerable amount of skill and effort.

Can you remove replace a background and remove a person from a photograph?

With careful retouching it is possible to replace a background or to remove a person from a photograph without making the image look artificially changed. It is also possible to remove the background on a photograph or change the lighting, making the faces covered by shadows to appear lighter. Sebastian Wintermute offers such services when a photograph is needed for private use only. No such photo retouching is done to alter the appearance of photographs of any historical significance or if such photo retouching may violate professional code of conduct, such as changing the appearance of images for publication in newspapers, magazines or on-line publications.

How do I protect photographs and documents from fading?

To prolong the life of your photographs or documents and to prevent any additional damage we advise that you always store the original photographs in archival acid-free envelopes and boxes that can be purchased from your local art or frame shop. Keep them away from any areas that may experience dramatic changes of temperature and humidity such as garages, attics, basements or any areas near fireplaces or windows. Display the photographs or documents only in frames that are covered with UV protective glass. Keep them away from exposure to direct sunlight, fluorescent light and drastic changes of temperature and humidity.

If your photographs or documents are mounted in frames, do not use chemical cleaners or solvents on the protective glass or the frame. Chemicals may penetrate the openings between the glass and the frame and cause additional damage to the photographs. Use only clean rags or paper towels with water to clean frames and glass. If frame or glass become damaged or you would like to replace them, do not do it yourself, take them to a professional framing shop, specifying the use of archival materials for mounting and framing.

How long do the digital prints last?

All photographs and documents restored by Sebastian Wintermute are printed on fine art archival papers using specially formulated inks. With proper care and display, you can expect up to a 150-year life span, which will guaranty that many more generations in your family will enjoy these photographs and the history behind them.

Is it safe to send photograph or documents by mail?

Due to the numerous problems with US Postal Service it is advised that you send all packages via FedEx or UPS.

Prior to shipping, place all photographs or documents into separate envelopes, and then place those envelopes between pieces of sturdy cardboard. Do not forget to request a copy of shipping bill and a tracking number. It is strongly recommend that you specify full insurance coverage and direct signature for your parcels and place highly visible notes outside requesting careful handling.

Under no circumstances ship framed photograph without first removing the glass from the frame.

Sebastian Wintermute will not be liable for any damages occurred during delivery of items to the studio and reserves the right to refuse the work or to change the estimate price if the items arrive damaged or were not shipped according to specifications.

For how long do you keep digital copies of photographs?

All digital files are kept for the period of no less than 3 years.

 

195 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

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