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September 6, 2019

Introducing The Photo Alchemist!

Olive Tree Genealogy is thrilled to introduce my readers to Claudia D'Souza aka The Photo Alchemist. I first noticed Claudia's amazing restorations and colourization of ancestor photos a few months ago. 

Read Claudia's story and visit her website at www.thephotoalchemist.biz

I have watched the video of Claudia colourizing a photo at least a dozen times. I'm fascinated by her technique and in awe of the finished product.  And now ... Claudia's story below

In 2009, I started researching my family history. Soon I was diving into the fortunes and misfortunes of my ancestors.

I marvelled at the explorer life of German great grandad Frederick, whose father was a founding member of the now extinct German Club in Burma, and who was forced to flee to India, and leave all his wealth behind, following the invasion of the Japanese; I cried as I unravelled the tragic life of British great grandma Jayne who, by the age of 23, had already buried three husbands and my heart broke while trying to discover the mysterious origins of Portuguese Grandfather Candido, who was abandoned at a doorstep of a rich doctor, on a cold Christmas Eve.

Claudia at The Genealogy Show in Birmingham England

Photographs became a huge part of my newly found obsession. If records, letters and documents are the bones of a family history, photos are without doubt the flesh. However, I was sad to find that photos were scarce, and often in very bad condition. I searched for restoration services, but they all required me to part with my precious originals, and there was no way on earth I was prepared to do that!

So, combining my advanced IT skills with my Fashion History passion and Art skills, I started exploring and developing ways of not only restoring and retouching old photos, but also adding carefully researched colour, enabling us to see our ancestors, just like they saw themselves and each other.
Knowing Grandfather Candido was abandoned on Christmas Eve felt 100 times more vivid, once I restored and colourised his photo and looked into his profound, sorrowful brown eyes.  Seeing the face of great grandma Jayne in colour, showed me a strong woman with whom suddenly I felt a deep connection even though we never met!

In 2017, I started interacting with genealogists across the world via social media and, after sharing one of my pieces online, I was flooded with requests for help with old photos. Realising I could help others and feed my passion, I quit my job as a Marketing Director and launched “The Photo Alchemist”.

Now I spend my days digitally bringing to life photos from clients all over the world, without the need for them to part with their precious originals. But the best part of my job is getting to know other people’s family histories, being trusted with their precious family photos, and playing a small part in keeping their legacies alive.

WEBSITE: www.thephotoalchemist.biz  
TWITTER: @Dsouza_Claudia
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/thephotoalchemist

4 comments:

Drama Queen said...

Claudia!!!! She is a great friend and has done wonderful work. She is one of my admins on a photo genealogy group in facebook. I a very proud of her and her work.

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Sheiselwilliams said...

The Photo Alchemist, Claudia D'Souza, is truly amazing! Her skill in colorizing vintage photos is far beyond any other I've seen. She has a real talent for reading the colors and making sure they compliment the photo and fit the era. I am glad to call her my friend and genealogy compatriot.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love her work! She is also so kind and helpful. I have had several photos restored and coloured by her and the whole family loved them. Last Xmas I had a child portrait of my maternal grandmother colourized and then had it printed to use as Xmas cards.