About Us

Bernard West. A.B.I.P.P.

After successfully completing a Diploma course in photography at the Harrow School of Photography in England in 1970, Bernard was accepted as an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography in 1972.

Settling in Sydney, Bernard worked as a commercial photographer for a number of years before specialising in the restoration and preservation of historic photographs.

Taking over a long standing copy and restoration business in 1979, trading as Mowbray Art Service and the Australian Photo Restoration Service, Bernard was able to utilise his technical background to further develop the copying techniques and production procedures to provide archival standard copywork.

It is in this field he has developed complex copy systems and an understanding of how to successfully combine traditional photographic skills with new technology to achieve archival quality results.

Bernard is also a member of the Picture Framers Guild of Australia (PFGA) and the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials (AICCM)

Our Technology

In order to provide efficient and comprehensive copying facilities, we have a total of 11 different copy and scanning systems, each dedicated to a specific type of original, such as large photographs and transparencies, negatives, slides, even framed and “Perma-Plaqued” photographs.

It is essential that the primary image capture provide optimum visual information, as no amount of subsequent computer processing will replace detail or repair a poor quality image.

Background to our Business

The business began in the Rocks area of Sydney in 1908, as a business copying and airbrush-colouring family photographs that were distributed right across Australia and New Zealand.
In the 1950's and 60’s there were hundreds of airbrush artists in Sydney, working both at the Rocks “factory” and as “home artists” working from their homes for the company, Ramsay Photo Works, as it was then called.

By the late 60's, renamed the Airbrush Art Studio, with Mrs. Kath. Mowbray as the chief artist, the business continued to serve the Portrait Studio sector, and with the advent of local “Mini labs”, provided copying and retouching services to the general public.

The current owners acquired the business in 1979 and have continued the tradition of providing specialised copying services. The transition from airbrushes to computers began in 1991 and computer production has now replaced all aspects of the retouching and reproduction process.

This amount of experience is unusual in the field of photographic copywork, and, sadly, elsewhere many inexperienced copy workers are creating reproductions of irreplaceable photographs on materials with very limited display life, due to their lack of knowledge and probably condemning these historic images to be lost forever.