Translated by WINNIE CHOOI
Sin Chew Daily
Due to health reasons, 47-year-old Wu Yu Wen resigned as business development manager in an electronic company a year ago and has since taken up the job of restoring old photographs.
Wu believes the restoration work is more than just restoring old photographs but also memories of a bygone era.
Wu was diagnosed with poliomyelitis at the age of two. However, his physical conditions did not hinder him from pursuing his dream as an electronic engineer after a three-year electronic engineering course at TAR College.
He was promoted to business development manager in view of his experiences. However, he found it tough to assume the post which required him to be always on the move.
"Since I have to let my body weight rely mostly on my right leg, I feel sore after sp,e time," said Wu.
Wu's friends reminded him of the consequences of moving around too much which could lead to walking difficulty in the long run. This made Wu rethink his future career path.
Support from wife
Thanks to his wife's support and encouragement, Wu eventually made up his mind to turn his favourite pastime of photography into a career, setting up photo gallery with old photograph restoration service.
Wu told Sin Chew Daily many old photographs were either showing cracks or were fading off resulting in compromised images which could possibly be due to incorrect collection method or long timed photos.
Successful restoration of worn-out photographs depends very much on computer skills so that the outcome would resemble the original images.
"I can remove or add people into the old photographs as instructed by customers. For some sentimental customers, I would transplant their newly taken family photos into their old residences provided they have pictures of their old residences," explained Wu.
Wu added that he drew his inspiration of restoring old pictures from a foreign worker.
Soon after he set up his photography business, a foreign worker came with pictures of his son and himself and sought his assistance to put them together in one picture.
"I was not very much convinced to answer his request but I wanted to give it a try. I spent one month exploring the relevant skills and successfully merged two separate images nto one single photograph," said Wu.
"The foreign worker was excited after seeing the photograph and this indeed stimulated me to further develop my skills in this field."
Wu could recall an old lady seeking assistance to restore a photograph of her late husband. Since it was her only photograph, Wu tried his best and successfully restored it to its original look.
"I could feel the true happiness from the old lady's response. It was a kind of true and sincere feeling without disguise and I felt totally contented," said Wu.
"Restoring photographs is not just about doing business but being able to obtain great contentment and happiness from it. Of course I am constantly improving and upgrading my skills."
Wu said restoring an old photograph took from a few hours to a whole week, depending on the conditions of the photographs.
Not giving up hope
Although Wu was diagnosed with polio since young, he has never given himself up. Instead, he keeps reminding his disabled friends to carry on their lives and live their lives to the fullest.
Wu struggled a lot when he first switched to this business as he had to forego his steady income and move into an uncertain realm.