Greensboro man an expert at restoring old photos

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- In Oscar Wilde’s famous novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," Gray’s painting aged, taking on the stress of all his bad deeds, while Gray, himself, remained young. If he only got that work to Bill Heroy, they both could’ve looked youthful forever.

“In our business, the older the picture, the better,” Heroy said.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way – Heroy studied chemical engineering at Duke and came to Greensboro to study biology in graduate school.

“When you're kicked out of the house, so to speak, and you're 22 and your parents saying you need to get a job …” Heroy’s voice drops off, as he tells the story.

His parents would mail him damaged photos and he used his knowledge of chemistry to help restore them – it was a way to have a few bucks, while he was still in school. But he certainly thought he’d stay in the sciences – you know, chemical engineering or something.

“I certainly would've made a lot more money,” he says with a chuckle.

Instead, he began a business called Old Photo Specialists on Elm Street in downtown Greensboro and the clients began to send photos in from all over.

“The furthest one came from South Africa,” Heroy said.

And with good reason -- his work over 30-plus years has developed quite a reputation.

“When people buy stuff from here, they don't have to worry about it falling apart,” he says, holding a photo he restored that has sat in a jar of water for four years.

See that photo -- and how he works -- in this edition of the Buckley Report.