This past Christmas holiday, I visited my partner Barbara's family up in Middletown, RI. I've been going up there for Christmas for the past 12 years. This year, Barbara's cousin gave Barbara a rare photo of her family, gathered round for the wedding of her mom and dad. I told B's family I'd do my best to recover the picture. This is how the photo looked when I scanned it in.
I've been a PhotoShop enthusiast for many years. I've learned tricks and tips reading books by Scott Kelby
, and attending his seminars. But I never sat down to recover a picture in as bad a shape as this one. There's scratches, missing faces, burnt out details. You can click on the photo to see it full size.
I went to work, adjusting contrasts, coaxing out details, sharpening blurry parts, removing scratches and splotches. Where the hole was too big, I had to fudge a face or two. In the parts of the photo that were almost completely grayed out, I had to invent new outfits for a couple of the gentlemen in the back row. After about a day's work, I ended up with this photo. I was even able to enlarge it a bit. You can click on it to see the full picture. It's not bad for a first whack at correcting an old photo.
I'm the last one left with many memories and stories about my brother, my father, and my mother. I'm 60 years old, so there's a LOT to remember and I tend to get fuzzy on details. I tend to tell what Mark Twain would call stretchers. But I've sworn to myself to make this new memoir I'm writing as accurate and as loving as I possibly can. So, how do I access the memories I alone possess? That worried me until I corrected this photo. See, I've long been a practicer of Cheri Huber's Zen koan: The way you do anything is the way you do everything.
And I realized that the way I corrected this photo is the way I'm going to have to remember my mother, my father, and my brother.
In writing this memoir, I'm going to be coaxing out details of my memory. I'll do my best to sharpen the blurry parts. If I have to fudge a face or two, I'm going to err on the side of love and the best in them. If I have to dress up any of the stories about people in order to fill in the holes of my memory, I'll do my best to make people look as good as I can most lovingly wish them to look.
And that's how I'm going to remember enough to write this memoir.
PS — A really good resource for PhotoShop users is the National Association of Photoshop Users
. I'm a member whenever I can afford it. The monthly magazine alone is great, plus there's a live chat room with PhotoShop users who've always been able to answer my questions about how to get things done.