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