Face lifts for floats

Restoring photographs from Tournament of Roses parade at the library becomes a community project.

July 29, 2009|By Joyce Rudolph

Six photographs of Burbank’s float entries in the Tournament of Roses parades have been getting a face lift and are ready for their close-ups, thanks to a group of residents.

The six photographs are part of a pictorial tribute of past floats starting with 1947 on view to the public along the second floor hall of the Burbank Central Library on Glenoaks Boulevard.

Since February, several people have been working on a project to digitally restore the color in four of the photographs at the John Burroughs High School photo department, said Sharon Cohen, library services director.


Two more restored photographs were presented to Cohen earlier this month by Johhny Truong, who graduated from Burroughs in June, and professional photographer Bonnie Burrow, Cohen said.

Six photographs in the collection, 1964, ’65, ’69, ’70, ’75 and ’76 have been restored so far, Cohen said.

“They look fabulous,” Cohen said. “What an incredible difference. They are very sharp and very clear. And the color is outstanding.”

The project began when Cohen brought the deterioration of the Rose Float photographs to the attention of Burrow, a member of the Friends of the Burbank Public Library and organizer of the library’s annual photography contest, Cohen said.

“I had mentioned to her several times how the photos in 1960s and ’70s had faded and wondered if there was a way to get them restored,” Cohen said.

Burrow talked to Gloria O’Donohoe, a library board member and member of the Friends of Burbank Public Library, and O’Donohoe suggested Burrow approach the students at Burroughs, where Burrow works as a part-time teacher.

Burrow spoke to photo teacher Tim Brehm and Brehm immediately thought of Johnny, Brehm said.

“Johnny has been our go-to guys,” Brehm said, adding that Truong had taken photography as a ninth-grader, then took a break from it in 10th grade and came back in 11th and this year, for 12th grade.

“He’s one of our solid performers,” Brehm said. “He’s easy to get along with, has a good eye and If you needed something done, you could go to Johnny. He was a photo club officer this year. He was a natural pick to do this project.”

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