THE STORY SO FAR...
In 2009, Claudia D'Souza, started researching her family history. Soon she was researching the fortunes and misfortunes of her German great grandad Frederick who, having made his fortune in Burma, was forced to flee to India following the invasion of the Japanese; the tragic life of British great grandma Jayne who, by the age of 23, had already buried three husbands; the mysterious origins of Portuguese Grandfather Candido, who was abandoned at a doorstep of a rich doctor, on Christmas Eve; to mention but a few.
Photographs became a huge part of her newly found obsession, but she was sad to find that photos were scarce, and often in very bad condition. She searched for restoration services, but they all required her to part with her precious originals, and there was no way on earth Claudia was prepared to do that!
So, combining her advanced IT skills with her Fashion History interest and Art skills, Claudia started exploring and developing ways of not only restoring and retouching old photos, but also adding carefully researched colour, enabling us to see the people in old photos, just like they saw themselves and each other.
THE TURNING POINT
In 2017, she started interacting with genealogists across the world via social media and, after sharing one of her pieces online, she was flooded with requests for help with old photos. Realising she could help others and feed her passion, she quit her job as a Marketing Director and launched “The Photo Alchemist”.
Since then, Claudia has completed more than 1000 commissions for clients worldwide, and her work has been featured in publications in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Brazil, Portugal and Denmark.
More recently, she has developed 2 online courses, teaching others how to restore and colourise old photos and has also launched her YouTube Channel - The Joy of Photo Colourisation.
Still most of her time, she spends digitally bringing to life photos from clients all over the world, without the need for them to part with their precious originals. But according to Claudia, the best part of her job is getting to know other people’s family histories and being trusted with precious family photos, often considered lost causes.