By David Hamilton

Dr. Gene Burch specializes in taking precious, yet old, worn-out photos, and making them as good as new.

A retired dentist, Burch now practices his “other love” as the owner of Gene Burch Photography, located on the third floor of the McClure Building on Main Street. Though his history taking photos spans the past three decades, he began focusing on photography in 2013 once he had retired from his 38-year dentistry career.

Burch specializes not only in taking photos, but also bringing them back to life.

People will often hold on to images of their loved ones, many of whom who are no longer with us but live on through their photos. It’s also common that these photos get lost in the shuffle of people’s storage and, inevitably, some are badly damaged.

“There’s a lot of people that have images down in their basement that have gotten wet or scratched or faded,” Burch said. “It’s just bad to let those pieces of history fade away.”

To keep that from happening, Burch takes the damaged photos and returns them to their former glory.

While he remembers using the first edition of Adobe Photoshop almost 30 years ago, Burch said the software has come a long way to the point where he can take a giant marking across someone’s face and make it look as if it never existed.

Burch said clients often experience pure joy the moment they see what he has done to restore their photos.

“It’s very satisfying to me when you hold up that image that had been torn and scratched and almost lost, and then they see it again like it was,” Burch said. “Their eyes open up and a big smile forms on their face. You know you’ve done something that’s good and helpful.”

Burch also reproduces original works of art so artists can sell copies without letting go of the original and lays out books. Burch is currently helping several people lay out books containing their family histories.

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