Monday, June 16, 2008

More Object Exploration...

Let's start falling down the rabbit hole of objects and how they are cherished or destroyed - you HAVE to read this...

http://imagerestoration.wordpress.com/2007/07/29/photo-restoration-water-damaged-or-flood-damaged-photos/
Restoring any photo should be pleasure not a chore. If a water damaged photo should need restoring, perhaps one recovered from a flood or a rainy camping trip then provided it is dry it can be scanned and restored like any other damaged photo. Of course the extent of damage may mean you have to replace an entire background by using the method of selection I described in the importance of selection . Once you have cut out you subjects you can choose and replace the background. Should the subject not be a person but a landscape then it may be better to approach the restoration from another angle.

See if you can find out when the scene was, what country and what time of year, this may help with the types of trees, flowers and surroundings you may need to research before restoring the flood damage. You may even find a similar scene in a reference book or even live near by where you can glean clues as to what things may have looked like.

If it is an old photo with people in a scene and the water damage means some of the clothes or objects have been distorted or lost altogether within the image then you can again get researching. Perhaps the owner knows what the people were wearing or have another photo that is not damaged you can use for reference. Photos of the period will give you great references to fashion and clothing and what types of hardware was around at the time. You may need to replace a car, rake, wheel barrow or pram, get as inventive as you can.

You may well be up against some really challenging colour bleeds and awkward colour fades, but with the usual patch tool and some selective feathering around the bled colour on a separate layer you should be able to colour correct these fairly easily.

Remember with the power of Photoshop and your skill anything is possible, the pleasure will be in knowing that you can restore it no matter how bad it is and you tackled and conquered something you wouldnt normally have taken a second look at.

Once again good luck and remember, flooded photos are not flushed away memories but restorable ones.

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other interesting articles...

From the NY Times - "If These Refrigerators Could Speak" - http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/29/opinion/29codrescu.html

From the NY Times - "Memories of World War II, Still Fresh in Collectibles" - http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/business/yourmoney/18war.html?sq=collectibles%20flood&st=nyt&scp=2&pagewanted=all

Diving into the Secret Life of Objects Part of WATER...

NYTIMES - Survivors in China Sift Rubble for the Past
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/world/asia/08scavengers.html?pagewanted=all

What the people digging through the rubble here at the center of the earthquake zone are pulling out now is entirely inanimate. There are car parts and real estate deeds and clothes for infants. A woman scours the debris every day for firewood to carry back to a tent where 13 families have taken refuge. Another leafs through her son’s wedding photo album, dust-filled and lifted from the ruins of her home.

They are what the survivors need to carry on with their lives, to piece back together some of what was snatched from them by the earthquake on May 12.

Sang Yuping spreads out a half-dozen photographs on a mattress in the tent that was given to her by the government. Across the road lie the remains of her one-story home. Long wooden planks protrude from the pile at every angle like whale bones.

There on the mattress is a photo of her daughter, her son and his wife. It is April. They are smiling and dressed in Tibetan robes and dancing at a festival at a primary school here, weeks before the school is to collapse and kill most of the children inside.

“This is the thing I was happiest to see,” said Ms. Sang, 54, a corn and soybean farmer. “I lost everything in the earthquake, and when I found these photos, I felt better. Because from these photos, I can see what life was like before the earthquake.”

She added, “I look at these photos when I’m sad.”

Small objects, some sentimental, some practical, are all that most survivors from Yingxiu have left of their lives. The town lies deep in the mountains of Wenchuan County, at the epicenter of the quake that has killed nearly 70,000 and left 18,000 missing across southwestern China. Most of what is left of Yingxiu is piles of brick and concrete. More than three-quarters of the town’s 10,000 residents were killed.

Chinese soldiers here are demolishing building after building, blowing up teetering structures with explosives. Soon bulldozers will clear away all the rubble, leaving no chance to salvage the past. Survivors are venturing back to scavenge while they can.

At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, soldiers detonated explosives in a building on the far bank of the muddy river coursing through Yingxiu. The blast echoed through the valley and sent a cloud of dust over the town. Then people carrying backpacks, wooden baskets and plastic bags streamed across the bridge to the fields of debris on the far side.

The soldiers and police officers here do not care who takes what. Most of the people who owned these things are dead, they say.

Ms. Sang said she and her son came back specifically to look for the family photos. But anything they could find would help. There was, for instance, her 2-year-old grandson to think about. She had been cradling him in her arms outside when the earthquake struck. He and his mother are now living with relatives in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, three hours south.

“I found some of his clothes in the rubble and brought them down to him,” she said.

Her tent was littered with other things that had mattered enough for her to dig out. A jar of liquor with a crack in the glass. Two wooden chests that held quilts and blankets. Jackets and sweaters still coated with dust.

“I’m still looking for things,” she said. “Today I found a door. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with that.”

Down the street, a woman in a purple sweater and straw hat stood in the rubble putting handfuls of wood into her basket. She did this five or six times a day: dig in the rubble, gather wood, carry it across the river. She lived in a tent with 40 people from 13 families. They used the wood to make fires to cook.

“We’re all refugees, and we don’t have anything,” said the woman, Zheng Xiaoqiang, 40. “We depend on each other. We all cook together, eat together, live together.”

Her son, Zidong, 13, was sifting through the debris looking for more wood.

“He has nothing to do these days,” Ms. Zheng said. “I want to get him out and send him to school. His teachers took some of his classmates down to Chengdu. But he’s afraid to go on his own.”

She pointed to a rubble heap at the foot of a mountain that looked like any other rubble heap.

“I want to go back to my house to look for things, but I don’t dare because the rocks fall from the mountain at any time,” she said. “I ran out without shoes. Someone gave me these shoes I’m wearing. Now, maybe rocks don’t fall anymore, but in my head, at night, they’re still falling.”

Three men were digging in the same pile of debris as Ms. Zheng. One of them found a wooden door and gave it to her. Then he began pounding on a slab of concrete with a sledgehammer, trying to get lower into the mound.

“What we’re looking for is my son’s college graduation diploma,” said one of the men, Jing Liangwen, 64, a former member of the National People’s Congress. “He’s been teaching in a middle school for 10 years, but without the diploma, it’s hard to get another job.”

He pointed to a red photo album that on its cover had a picture of his son in a tuxedo and his daughter-in-law in a white wedding dress. “Finding this has made me happy, but maybe the diploma would be more important,” he said.

He ticked off other paperwork he needed to find: a real estate deed, a work license, health insurance documents, a proof of retirement certificate.

Without the last one, he said, he would not be able to collect his $290-a-month pension. Getting official documents in China can be as arcane a process as deciphering classical manuscripts.

Scattered around him were the fruits of the day’s labor: a DVD player, balls of yarn, jackets, blankets, pillows, two women’s handbags, two issues of “China Automobile Pictorial.”

“I’d love to find a table and some chairs,” he said. “In our tent, we have no place to sit.”

From the rubble he picked a small lapel pin, a red flag with the Communist Party hammer and sickle. He held it up.

He was asked whether it was important to him.

“How could it not be important?” he said, stuffing it in one of the handbags.

Along the main road, a man in a red T-shirt was tinkering with the battery of a pickup truck. He said the engine was still good. The truck could be driven out.

Another group of men was excavating what used to be an auto repair shop. One of the men, Tang Jianhua, had opened this shop to service construction equipment used by workers building a tunnel through a mountain here. Mr. Tang walked out of the rubble carrying two red hydraulic jacks.

“This repair equipment is my livelihood,” he said. “If they come back to work on the tunnel, I’ll reopen my shop.”

Twilight was coming, and rain clouds had drifted in. The wind picked up. Soldiers warned the salvagers that another building would be demolished with explosives in a few minutes. Ms. Zheng came back to collect her last batch of firewood for the day.

Mr. Jing walked over to a tent for dinner with friends. He had found all his certificates in a desk drawer in the rubble. He would be able to collect his pension. His son would be able to find another job. Life would go on.

Monday, June 9, 2008