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76-year-old Chinese man mastered Photoshop late in life, now repairs old pictures for free [14 pics]

Apr 26, 2011 By Abraham

16 years ago, when he was 60, Baojun Yuan learned how to use Photoshop to make old pictures look like new again.

Baojun Yuan - Photoshop Master - 04

Baojun Yuan - Photoshop Master - 05

Baojun Yuan - Photoshop Master - 06

Baojun Yuan - Photoshop Master - 07

Baojun Yuan - Photoshop Master - 08

Baojun Yuan - Photoshop Master - 03

Through his tireless editing work, he has revitalized old memories for hundreds in his community — and all for free. He says, “My teacher taught me how to repair photos, but he forgot to tell me how to charge.” So now he offers his photo-editing as a complimentary service to folks who can’t afford to have their old pictures retouched professionally.

(via Design InspirationUbergizmo)


    1. stupid. says:

      He probably did pay for Photoshop (or not, there are free places to pirate it)… but the title said that he does the *service* for free, not that he didn’t pay for anything.

      1. Jjjjj says:

        Because Photoshop is one of the most-pirated programs, retailing for up to $800, but he’s doing the service for free. I can see the relevance of the question…

        1. Sarah says:

          Up to $800? Are you kidding me? It’s cheaper for Australians like myself to fly to LA, buy Photoshop there and fly back than it is to buy Photoshop here in Australia.

  1. Bunnnnee says:

    *Chuckles* Stereotypes usually begin with a perception that many people have, butin this case, it’s a well-established fact that China pirates software. They will have to change that behavior radically before they accuse people of being judgmental.

      1. Susan says:

        Yes, but we have laws against it, they do not. So it’s far worse over there, because they don’t even have to be careful.

    1. Dalt Wisney says:

      IMHO, Adobe should send this guy a free copy of their creative suite. The PR value for their (overpriced) product should warrant it.

  2. monika says:

    He does his work for free for people that can’t afford it and clearly has a great skill and your going to bring up the fact that he ‘probably’ has pirated photoshop? who are you to say that, especially when you have NO clue. Appreciate the mans work instead of trying to find something negative. And pirated or not do you not see the positivity in this? Those photos might not of lasted much longer, especially the last one. So take a minute and think before you speak.

    1. monika says:

      you know what, my bad. I completely misread your comment. I should have thought more before I spoke. But i still have an opinion that you have no idea so why even ask yourself that question? It’s pointless. Just focus on the positivity.

    2. Twink says:

      Exactly. Only someone who’s never benefited from any kind of piracy could comment (that would rule out all of us with whom friends have ‘shared’ music they liked, etc), and even then, how is this at all relevant? It’s like hearing that some 100 year old man just learned an obscure, difficult language and saying ‘Wheelp, I hope he bought them books!’. Just completely irrelevant.

  3. Debra says:

    I’ve seen this story posted several places over the last few days, but each time I see the images, I’m floored. However he came to have his copy of Photoshop, the man is incredibly talented.

  4. Alan says:

    Very impresive work. What makes it even more so is the fact of the guys age and the service he is providing to loads of people. Shame there aren’t more people like him.
    And for all the people saying he probably uses a pirate copy of photoshop, maybe he got a deal from the college/school he went to to learn photoshop. Adobe and a lot of the major software companies offer huge discounts to students to get them to use their software when they enter the working world.

  5. Baron says:

    It’s funny how people accuse a race for actions such as pirating, thinking their own is high and mighty, and I’m assuming most Americans are making these accusations. People pirate all over the world, ESPECIALLY Americans. Napster ring a bell folks? All in all, there shouldn’t have to be any speculation on how he obtained it.

    In any case, on to the real subject at hand. I think this amazing, hell, even a lot of the “Photo Restoration” aren’t even done very well. I think it’s because it lacks a “personal” touch, where an individual can sit there and actually spend some time on it. Where as a machine just runs it through, guesses what goes where etc etc. Not to mention the fact of a free service to give back to the community to save cherished memories is always a great thing.

    1. Anneliese says:

      What’s really funny, Baron, is how you’ve assumed that one poster is American and then used that single instance to make a blanket judgment against an entire nationality. Hypocrisy ring a bell, Baron?

      1. Ruiyyanko says:

        Well, if you click the OP’s name, it does take you through to an organisation’s website based in VA, so Baron’s assumption wasn’t off the mark at all.

    2. Sanja Plavsic-Brandt says:

      oh you are so right ! instead of commenting about this masterwork photoshop and the greatness of GIVING behind it, they ask if his version of the program is a original one ?! as i was going through the comments, i so have to agree with you, baron ! i bet they are americans…and they just can’t understand the art behind it. anyone who knows something about the great culture of china, should understand the great iconography and master-arts. even if it’s nothing like the west one that we have. but most of them never even left their state, their country…yet they are the first to judge :) not all are the same, i refuse to believe that ! there must be some open-minded folks as well ;) anyways, back to the subject: what this man does is great ! great in terms of mastering the program, and doing that at his age. as far as i can see the version he is working with is old, yet he manages to produce ART :) and that he does it for free is such a wonderful thing. for the knowledge he received, he is giving so much more back to the universe. and i’d say he deserves an original adobe…if i was someone at that firm (headquarters) over in the states, that is what i would honor him with: send him one :) i even go as far and suggest that we start some kind of petition and send it to them as it would have a “touch” of “fight piratery” in it as well ;)

  6. Tamber says:

    You have all got it wrong. The originals are on the right. I think he does a terrible job, especially the last one. Actually, I think someone has messed about with the pictures, possibly with GIMP.

  7. Jezzmeister says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha. You all seem to have gotten so indignant about whose racist stereotype is best/worst, you completely missed the embedded ageist stereotype at the heart of the original article. Why shouldn’t a 76 year-old have a computer-related skill? Unless one subscribes to the view that anyone over the age of 60 is axiomatically incompetent with technology, this story is hardly earth-shattering.

  8. Kevin says:

    You’re darn right he paid for Photoshop. It’s a very expensive program.
    I’m also a PS expert and do lots of photo restorations myself. I’m only 67.
    (I do charge a modest fee)

    1. Jo says:

      in the early days of portraiture, nobody smiled for pictures. it usually took 15 minutes to take one picture and to keep a smile in place for that long was not possible. not to mention having to bare bad teeth.

  9. viv says:

    That’s amazing art and even more amazing he does that for free.
    Photos are,indeed,one of the best memories to treasure

  10. opiner says:

    It’s nice of him to do this for free for neighbors, but why is this a story? So when he ws 60 he learned Photoshop. And? So?

    The ageist assumptions lead me to believe this was written (the few sentences it the “article” contains, that is) by someone young. Oh, the arrogance of youth…

    1. Twink says:

      It’s not trying to be ageist, but to point out that contrary to what people think, it’s not impossible for anyone of any age to master a complicated, challenging program. A lot of older people have the ability to learn new things, but because of assumptions about old age, and stigma, they can be afraid to try to do something new. Especially when that revolves around fast-changing technologies, which can feel like a struggle to keep up, even for us ‘young’ folk (I still can’t forgive Microsoft’s Ribbon interface, for example). Most of my older relatives are very reluctant to pick up new technology because it is daunting for everyone (most of my ‘young’ friends are scared of messing with any image editing software that isn’t simple), though I have won them around to using Skype.

      As someone competent on Ps, I genuinely admire that he took the time and effort to get very proficient at it, and then dedicated his time to using it to help others and preserve history. So much more useful and interesting than clumsily doctoring millions of one’s selfies until you look like someone completely different. Given that too often, Ps is used to retouch images of people until they look nothing like the real thing, it’s really nice to see it being put to a more constructive use. The world doesn’t need more retouched models, but it could always use its heritage preserving.

      And age aside, or not, it’s still worthy minor news, because restoring really difficult photos for free is a genuinely nice thing to do. It’s hard work, and people don’t really appreciate the time you can put into getting something to look ‘right’ on a program like Ps. Let alone doing it for free out of the goodness of your heart. What’s wrong with shining a light on some of the good deeds done in the world? Especially if your results are impressive, which is are. You can barely see the Ps influence in most. Albeit a few of them are a lil heavyhanded in some places, which is a small giveaway, but I think most people proficient at photoshop would struggle to do as well as he did.

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