If you or anyone you know has salvaged an irreplaceable photo damaged during the hurricane, contact me. I will try to repair it. Free of charge. Although this is open to all affected by Sandy, I prefer to assist those with limited financial resources.
In the meantime, help make this message viral. Feel free to forward the link to this blog to anyone you wish. Realistically, I can only commit to doing one photo for now as it’s a time-consuming process. So first come, first served. But I may do more as time allows. And, if this message does go viral and I get a big response, there are other artists I can try enlisting to help.
We’re living in the age of instant cell phone photography. And those images are forever preserved as they get uploaded by the millions to Facebook and other internet destinations. But there is still an archive of old one-of-a-kind paper photos. Those images might be one’s only remaining connection to ancestors, a parent, a wedding, a childhood memory or other special occasion.
So damage by water, mud, fire or other accident caused by Sandy can add an additional strain. There are property losses that can be replaced. But photos can have a strong emotional attachment. And if the negatives have also been damaged or were lost long ago, then there is no way of making another copy unless they were previously scanned – in which case, let’s hope they reside in a computer or backup media that has survived the weather. Water and electronics don’t go well together.
The photo will have to be sent to me so that I can inspect the damage. In some cases, the photo may be beyond repair. But, if there is enough there to work with, I will create a high-resolution digital scan of the photo. From there, I go into a darkroom with Photoshop and a large color-calibrated monitor to essentially perform digital surgery. Undamaged portions of the photo can be duplicated to replace nearby damaged areas. But it’s not a mere cut-and-paste job. An artistic approach is necessary so that everything blends in naturally together. There may even be areas of the photo that have to be re-created. Sometimes the process involves micro-surgery where the image is worked on pixel by pixel.
Once the damage is repaired, I can also restore the photo to what it might have looked like when it was first printed. Photos, like the people represented in them, will age over time. The print acquires small nicks, tears and scratches. And the colors may fade especially if the photo was displayed near a window or other location where there was strong light. Over time, the colors may start to change too. You may have seen photos from the 1970s that now have a greenish-brown hue. I can perform a “face lift” to reverse much of that aging.
Upon completion of this work on the digital scan, I will create a new print. But this is nothing like what your typical office or home printer might produce. I have a high-end inkjet printer I use for my exhibits. It has nine ink cartridges with varying shades of blue, red, black and grey ensuring a very precise and detailed image. And it better. At the time of this writing, a full set of cartridges goes for about $600. So the owner of the damaged photo will receive a new, high-quality print as well as a copy of the finished digital file.
Do What We Can
I was scheduled to fly out of New York last week to attend the opening of my exhibit, “Weir Was Here,” at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The exhibit features my photographs of J. Alden Weir’s house and art studio at Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut. Weir is one of the founders of American Impressionism and the University has a significant collection of his work.
The exhibit and itinerary had been in the works for many months. My photographs had arrived at the gallery space the week before and will remain on exhibit until January 2013. But I was to do a promotional visit to Provo: a radio interview in the morning, a Gallery Talk, meetings with the curator and staff, a private viewing of selected art work from the museum’s collection and visits to local media and galleries.
But Sandy had other plans and cancelled all flights – along with the electricity, heat, cell phone service, internet service, mass transit and gas stations. Although I’m a five minute walk from Hempstead Harbor, I’m located at the highest point in my county. So no damage was suffered by water and, thankfully, the wind did not throw any trees or limbs in our way.
Unfortunately, a great many people did not fare as well. Long Beach, lower Manhattan and Breezy Point are just some of the areas in New York that have been hit hard. Bridgeport and Norwalk in Connecticut are flooded and, of course, many places in New Jersey have been destroyed. Although the Northeast has garnered the most media coverage, there are also places like Haiti – still reeling from the 2010 earthquake – that suffered extensive flooding and deaths.
If you’re like me, then you’re not a celebrity, politician or millionaire. We don’t have the resources provided by a fan base, a government or wealthy connections. But we can each do small things that cumulatively have a big impact. Rather than let Sandy rob me of the joy from a promotional tour, I thought I would make the best of the situation and use the resources I do have — in art — to lend someone a hand.
What You Can Do Right Now
> If you can repost this blog to your social media networks, it will help get the word out to those who can benefit from my offer. Depending on what link you used to get here, you may see a “Share This” button below.
> If you are able to provide the same service as me, feel free to use my blog post as a template for getting the word out to your own network.
> If you have other suggestions on what we can do to help others affected by Sandy, please leave a reply below so that everyone can benefit from your ideas. Feel free to include links to private and governmental organizations that can provide assistance.
> If you have become motivated to do something to help someone, please leave a reply below. Your story may encourage someone else to do the same.
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© 2012 Xiomáro