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Suggestions needed for retouching this old photo

Oct 13, 2012, 18:51
Post: #1
Suggestions needed for retouching this old photo
I'm trying to restore a photo of my mother's sister that was taken on the day of her high school graduation. It's a group photo but here's the piece showing my aunt's face:
   

This whole photo had a lot of water (and probably mold) damage but the big problem with this section was that it was stuck to the glass. I managed to soak it off but it tore there, and of course that's exactly the part where my aunt's face was. I've done a bit of experimenting with the face but I'm just not real happy with the way it looks so I'm asking for suggestions here. Fortunately I also have a newspaper clipping showing the same photo:
   

so I do have a reference to go by. Here's what I'm mainly having trouble with:

1) the figure's left eye (on the right side of the face) - I tried the Clone and Heal tools but it just didn't look good so next I tried copying and pasting the other eye, flipping it horizontally, and rotating it a bit to try to get the angle right (I had to hold a ruler to the screen for that; does GIMP have a way to draw a slanted guide line that could be deleted later?). It's not bad, but it's not great either. That was when I remembered the newspaper clipping. I was going to copy from that, and amazingly they are almost exactly the same size (I measured the height of the face in each one) but being a printed piece it of course has dots and it looks awful when copied and pasted.

2) the skin tones - actually this is a problem with the whole photo; the skin tones range from almost white to very gray (actually all the grays range that way ; it's something I've been working on). But my aunt's face is the worst because it's not consistent, probably because of the tear. I've tried doing a free selection around the face and neck and experimenting with some of the color corrections - Auto Normalize and Equalize, Levels, Curves, Brightness/Contrast - but so far it hasn't helped much. Any ideas, anyone?

If it helps I can include more pieces, or even the entire photo. I just didn't want to take up any more space; I knew this would be a long post. Just let me know. And thanks in advance for your help.

Meg

P.S. I am using 2.6.11 in Windows XP Pro SP3.
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