Let Us Repair to the Parlor
One of the joys of Photoshop I've come to learn and love is repairing (or, at least, improving) old photographs. As I adore old imagery to begin with, it's a natural pursuit for me to correct signs of age and disrepair when I come across it. In the case of this very old glass negative, there were a number of issues to address. (The top image is, of course, the original. The bottom shows the improved result.) The foremost concern was the general disintegration of the emulsion around the edges. Not even Photoshop can bring back what's been completely lost. So, I focused on what I could improve. The glass negative came to me in two pieces. Thus, that large crack from the top middle down to the lower left. When I scanned the image, obviously I tried to place the two pieces as accurately as I could to limit more work within Photoshop. The other major area to fix was the stuttered scratch going vertically down the man on the right, ruining his beautiful top hat. After that, there were hundreds of white dots all over the image to correct—many were probably dust particles when it was first processed. Finally, I set out dodging and/or burning areas to create better contrast and clarity. It also helps to sharpen facial features. I've worked on a number of such images and, although rather tedious, the work is satisfying when you see the end result.
The maid appears to enjoy eavesdropping on the conversation.
The lady of the house will be having a conversation with her later.