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Old black and white photographs restored and given colour by graphic artist Nick Harris from Chatham

The long-awaited new Dr Who series is coming to our screens tonight, but graphic artist Nick Harris has already established himself as a time traveller.

While many dream of bringing the past back to life, Nick, from Lordswood, near Chatham, has managed to do it, thanks to technology and his incredible talent for restoring old and damaged photographs.

What were once creased and fading black and white snapshots, he recreates digitally as vibrant, colourful images that could have been taken yesterday - if it were not for the tell-tale backdrops of yesteryear.

Victorian rogue Isaac Chappell's police mugshot
Victorian rogue Isaac Chappell's police mugshot

It started 10-years-ago as a favour for his dad, John Harris, who asked him to rejuvenate an old picture of his grandfather, Leslie James Harris.

Nick works at Reflect Digital, a design and digital marketing company based in Maidstone involved in enhancing pictures.

However, he soon discovered he could take his skills a step further.

He launched his Photo Restoration Services website seven years ago and, with the current fascination of looking back into family history, orders started to roll in.

Jan Canty had this picture of her parents' wedding turned into colour for their 70th anniversary
Jan Canty had this picture of her parents' wedding turned into colour for their 70th anniversary
The colourised photo of Jan Cantry's parents
The colourised photo of Jan Cantry's parents

Nick, 34,who lives in Wheatfields with wife Hayley, said: “It began as a bit of a hobby, but I soon found it fascinating and I get a great deal of satisfaction out of it.

“Many of the pictures I deal with are of tremendous sentimental value to people, and they can be used for educational purposes to bring history back to life.

“They make wonderful presents preserving old memories. People are enamoured by old photos and I believe stories behind them deserve to be seen for future generations.”

Requests include repairing and colourising old mono wedding pictures, which are popular gifts for milestone anniversaries.

A grainy black and white version of family outing to Whitstable, circa 1925
A grainy black and white version of family outing to Whitstable, circa 1925
The colourised image of a family outing to Whitstable, circa 1925
The colourised image of a family outing to Whitstable, circa 1925

Photographs of relatives who may have died decades ago can bring a sense of togetherness for families.

He said: “I definitely think television programmes like Who Do You Think You Are? are inspiring people to delve into their own family history.

“The programme shows that with some time and patience they too can discover so many fascinating moments about their own ancestors.”

More recently, he has been involved in major projects including restoring a rogues’ gallery of criminals from the Victoria era, currently on display at a museum in Yorkshire.

A cracked and damaged wedding photo
A cracked and damaged wedding photo
Restored wedding picture
Restored wedding picture
Nick Harris of Lordswood who restores and colourises old black and white photographs. Picture: Chris Davey
Nick Harris of Lordswood who restores and colourises old black and white photographs. Picture: Chris Davey

He was also commissioned to work on a series of First and Second World War shots for RAF Marham in Norfolk to be used for educational school visits.

One of his proudest creations was bringing back to life a picture of a family outing to Whitstable, dating back to around 1925 and featuring his great-great-grandmother.

He said: “I love the look on her face and how the boys, one of whom is my grandad Leslie, are sitting on a fishing boat with a bucket and full-sized spade.

“My dad loved the colourised photo and is planning to show it to his work colleagues and sharing it with his cousin.

"That’s exactly why I do what I do - for us to share those moments.”

Find out more at www.photorestoration.services


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