Calumet man preserves history one photo at a time

Michigan

CALUMET, Mich. (WJMN) — With cameras on our phones, we can take nearly unlimited pictures, but that wasn’t always the case.

And unlike digital images, printed photos, film and other various ways to store old pictures fade, crack and show their age. So one Calumet man is helping keep these old photos, alive one computer click at a time.

“I think probably around the mid-’90s and some of the first things I did with it were with students in school,” Mike Edwards, the owner of Red Jacket Media, said. “I taught a chess class, so I remember taking pictures of kids concentrating playing chess games and then putting them in front of an outer space background or something.”

After retirement and some newfound free time on his hands, Edwards decided to turn his past time into a business.

“What I do is I digitize analog media, meaning anything like a photograph a negative, slide, an old document,” Edwards said. “I can scan these restore them improve their look, put them back to how they would have looked when they were new and then make digital files for customers, and often people want reprints and things like that, too.”

You can find images that have crossed through Red Jacket Media Studios all over the Upper Peninsula. From Calumet Colosseum to the National Ski Hall of Fame and many places in between, when looking at the flawless photo in the museum, you would never know the sometimes decrepit condition of the original.

“In a lot of cases, old photos like that are just going to be very faded, so the exposure and the color, if it’s a color photo, can be returned to what it should be,” Edwards said. “The other thing is there is just damage. There is scratches, tears, spills, and so almost always that kind of damage can be fixed and the image can be improved either a little or a lot.”

The original image Courtesy of Red Jacket Media
The original image Courtesy of Red Jacket Media
The original image Courtesy of Red Jacket Media
The original image Courtesy of Red Jacket Media

Being able to assist in the process of snapshotting time, for Edwards, is a beyond rewarding experience.

“I mean, I get paid for what I do but it’s just really good to see someone who came in and said well I’ve got this, and you probably can’t do anything with it,” Edwards said. “Then they’re quite amazed, especially if it’s an old family photo people who have passed o — they have no negative, relatives have no other copy, that’s all they have. And so I’ve literally had photos torn to pieces brought in in a little Ziploc bag and pieced it back together, and it’s not perfect but it’s better than they thought was possible, so it’s enjoyable to see that.”

Red Jacket Media doesn’t just specialize in the restoration of photos. VHS tapes, cassette tapes, vinyl records and movie reels are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to some of the media.

For more information on Red Jacket Media, click here.

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