Category Archives: Adobe Photoshop

The Life Mask Face of Thomas Jefferson – A Photoshop Restoration

The Life Mask Face of Thomas Jefferson – A Photoshop Restoration

What Did Thomas Jefferson Look Like?

In an era with no photography and so many variations among paintings, we are left scratching our heads. Now we can know. Using Adobe Photoshop, I’ve attempted to faithfully reproduce 3rd U.S. President Thomas Jefferson as he might have looked in 1825 using his life mask. We can now see what Jefferson looked like, although no photographs of him exist.

The life mask of Thomas Jefferson was taken from a plaster mold of his head created by John Henri Isaac Browere.

1“On October 15, 1825, there appeared at Monticello, the home of the venerable Thomas Jefferson, one John Henri Isaac Browere, sculptor and celebrity hunter. He had come, he announced, to make a likeness of Mr. Jefferson. Browere had already gained some degree of fame for his busts of well-known people. Not carved from wood or chiselled from marble, these busts were cast of plaster, in the European manner, from molds taken of the features of living subjects. He made the molds with a grout whose formula he himself had concocted and which he jealously guarded.”

2“Critics were divided on the merits of Browere and his technique, some deriding him as a mere mechanic and calling his New York studio a “plaster factory.” But none could deny that his work achieved a stark realism uncommon in that day. His plaster busts showed the age-lined brow, the pock-marked face; his subjects appeared as they were, not as artists generally portrayed them. His life masks were, and remain, the most authentic likenesses of some historic figures who lived in a day before photography provided more easily obtained but similarly uncompromising portraits.”

Thomas Jefferson Life Mask
Source: Thomas Jefferson, 1825, John Henri Isaac Browere (1790-1834), Plaster, H: 26.27 x W: 18.5 x D: 10.5 in. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark, N0209.1961. Photograph by Richard Walker. (Used By Permission)

Life Mask Restoration

Below is the Photoshop restoration of Jefferson’s life mask.

Remarkably, Jefferson showed little wrinkles for his advanced age in 1825. The life mask has a lot of pitting on the surface of which I removed in this restoration.

Thomas Jefferson Face Life Mask Reconstruction
Life Mask Photoshop Reconstruction of Thomas Jefferson

3“There seems to be no consensus on Thomas Jefferson’s eye color. His eyes were variously described by family, friends, employees, and others as blue, gray, “light,” hazel, and combinations thereof.”

I studied a few of Jefferson’s paintings when attempting to place his eyebrows. Some paintings show his eyebrows to be dark even into old age. I tried to shape his brows according to the contours of the mask, taking into account that the plaster may have pressed his eyebrows a bit.

Thomas Jefferson Life Mask transition
Overlay transition of the image of Thomas Jefferson’s life mask restoration.

The casting of Jefferson’s life mask did not go well; he almost suffocated as a result.

4″Jefferson wrote to James Madison of the ordeal on October 18, 1825: I was taken in by Browere. he said his operation would be of about 20. minutes and less unpleasant than Houdon’s method. I submitted therefore without enquiry but it was a bold experiment on his part on the health of an Octogenary, worn down by sickness as well as age. successive coats of thin grout plaistered on the naked head, and kept there an hour, would have been a severe trial of a young and hale person. he suffered the plaister also to get so dry that separation became difficult & even dangerous. he was obliged to use freely the mallet & chisel to break it into pieces and get off a piece at a time. these thumps of the mallet would have been sensible almost to a loggerhead. the family became alarmed, and he confused, till I was quite exhausted, and there became real danger that the ears would separate from the head sooner than from the plaister. I now bid adieu for ever to busts & even portraits.”

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The Life Mask Face of James Madison – A Photoshop Restoration

Sources & References:
1,2Donald B. Webster, Jr. “The Day Jefferson Got Plastered” American Heritage (1963) https://www.americanheritage.com/day-jefferson-got-plastered
3Thomas Jefferson Monticello. “Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia – Eye Color” https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/eye-color
4From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 18 October 1825,” Founders Online, National Archives, accessed September 29, 2019, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/98-01-02-5602.

Original Life Mask Image Source: Source: Thomas Jefferson, 1825, John Henri Isaac Browere (1790-1834), Plaster, H: 26.27 x W: 18.5 x D: 10.5 in. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark, N0209.1961. Photograph by Richard Walker. (Used By Permission)

Copyright symbol in a light bulbCopyright & Disclaimer:

While most transformed image compositions on this site fall under a Creative Commons license and are shareable with attribution, the images in this post are restricted. The original life mask image of Thomas Jefferson is copyright Richard Walker of the Fenimore Art Museum, and the Digital Yarbs Photoshop restorations are restricted to internet and video use of yarbs.net exclusively per agreement with Fenimore Art Museum. Permission for image use must be obtained from both Digital Yarbs and Fenimore Art Museum.

The Lost Daguerreotype Photographs of James and Dolley Madison

The Lost Daguerreotype Photographs of James and Dolley Madison

Lost to history and now found….. A very rare glimpse of  Daguerreotype photographs by Matthew Brady of James Madison with his beloved Dolley Madison.
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The Life Mask Face of James Madison – A Photoshop Restoration

The Life Mask Face of James Madison – A Photoshop Restoration

What did James Madison Look Like?

This post is part II and somewhat a repeat of What Did The Founding Fathers Look Like? – James Madison.  However, unlike my first post, I now have higher quality images to work with, thanks to the Fenimore Art Museum. I will be adding side views of Madison’s face to this post in the future.

No photographs of Madison exist, but we do have his life mask showing his exact likeness, wrinkles and all. I’m sure the War of 1812 attributed to quite a few of those wrinkles.
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Colorized Photos Used in the Nathan Bedford Forrest and Frederick Douglass Project

Colorized Photos used in the Nathan Bedford Forrest and Frederick Douglass Project

Below are the photos I colorized  for graphic design project entitled:“An Intimate Tour with Nathan Bedford Forrest and Frederick Douglass – Slaying the Racism Demo “

A few of these were hastily colorized and not quite finished as the heads were the only things needed for the project.
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Colorizing History – Bringing Black and White Photographs Back to Life!

“Photoshopping” The Past

A gallery of black and white photographs I colorized using “my favorite” imaging software, Adobe Photoshop. See a few famous as well as not so famous faces. See also my colorization of life masks and de-aging using action figure heads.

Not so famous faces

Mary Chaney Thompson
Mary Chaney Thompson (1847-1920)
Anna Daniel Gardner
Anna Daniel Gardner (1871-1953)
Henry Daniel
Henry Daniel (1874-1953)

Famous Faces

John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)
Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877)
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Nathan Bedford Forrest by Matthew Brady. Original photos: from the collections of Matt Hagans and Steve and Mike Romano

Life Mask Colorization

James Madison
James Madison (1751-1836)

See What Did The Founding Fathers Look Like? – James Madison

De-Aging Using Photoshop’s liquify filter

Below, I used Photoshop’s Liquify filter on an action figure head to create a youthful version of my 4th-great grandfather.

Jackson Chaney
Jackson Chaney (1817-1894)

Colorized Photos Used in the Nathan Bedford Forrest and Frederick Douglass Project

See more of my Photoshop creations!

Copyright & Disclaimer:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Transformed Images elsewhere on this site as a whole that I have created are free to anyone for NonCommercial use with attribution under the license above. Images on this site that are used by permission, logos and images of me do not fall under this license. While most of my image elements are public domain, my own, from free stock sites or from purchased stock sites , some elements may be from copyrighted sources and are in my best judgment, “transformative fair use” for use on this site. If you use a transformed image I created, keep in mind that some images may have elements from purchased stock sites or copyrighted elements within the transformed images. These elements may or may not be transferable for your use. To understand transformative fair use, please see the Creative Law Center’s post about copyright and fair use: Is it Fair Use? Using the Creative Work of Others

What Did The Founding Fathers Look Like? – James Madison

The Real James Madison

With so many variations among paintings, one wonders just what did the Founding Fathers of the United States really look like. When creating my graphic novel about founding father and 4th president James Madison I wanted to have an accurate portrayal of Madison for my book. No photographs of Madison exist, but we do have his life mask showing his exact likeness.
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An Intimate Tour of the Super Museum in Metropolis with Superman

 The Tour of the Super Museum in Metropolis Illinois with Superman

Intro

Using a Sideshow 1/6 scale Superman action figure and a little Adobe Photoshop magic I was able to create the perfect companion for my trip to the Super Museum in Metropolis Illinois.  Come along and see the photo tour of the Museum with me. At the end of this post see the video of the before and after Superman scenes.

Superman Arrives

Shocked, I couldn’t believe that Superman responded to my text and actually showed up at my house…. yes, the Man of Steel at my house! I felt that same giddy excitement that Lois Lane felt the day Superman visited her for the first time by landing on her balcony. Unlike Lois, at least I didn’t have to fall out of a helicopter to get his attention.1 Continue reading An Intimate Tour of the Super Museum in Metropolis with Superman

An Intimate Tour of Montpelier with James and Dolley Madison

The Tour of Montpelier with James and Dolley Madison

Intro….

December 2018, my friend Dave and I visited Montpelier, the plantation home of James Madison in Orange County, Virginia. The trip was enjoyable, but at that time Montpelier allowed no photos of the interior of the mansion. This was very disappointing.

We returned to Montpelier in June of 2019 after finding out we could now photograph the inside of the home. By this time, I was well into my science fiction graphic novel project about Madison. This visit allowed me to capture some lovely interior background photos for my project.

This post focuses on the interior of Montpelier.  I’ve added a little extra flavor by adding James and Dolley with dialogue to some of the photos as if we had visited them. I Photoshopped “modernity” background items out of some of the images, i.e., security cameras, air vents, perimeter roping, etc. to make it look more like Madison’s time. Click on the “Before” image links to see the original photos.
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James Madison Becomes A Second Amendment Meme

James Madison Becomes a Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms Meme

Using some of the characters I’ve created with Photoshop, I have created a Second Amendment meme that has been used on social media.  Feel free to use this for non-commercial use regardless of your political bent.
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James Madison – UFO’s over Montpelier

President James Madison – There’s UFOs over Montpelier

“Everybody’s flying and never touch the sky
There’s UFO’s over New York and I ain’t too surprised
Nobody told me there’d be days like these” – John Lennon

Well, maybe not over New York Mr. Lennon but certainly aliens are visiting Montpelier, the plantation home of James Madison in Orange County, Virginia, USA.
Continue reading James Madison – UFO’s over Montpelier