Friday, December 20, 2013

Photo Friday - A Photo Rescue Mission

Earlier this month we went to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  My husband's family has an apartment near the beach. The last time I visited this apartment, about four years ago, I had examined the family photo albums and I was dismayed to see their condition.  Each photo was discolored and faded.  The albums were falling apart.  I knew that someday soon I would need to rescue those photographs. It is a very hot, humid climate.  While we were there there was 11 inches of rain!  The windows are always open to the ocean breeze.  Salt, humidity, time and heat have done their damage to the "peel and stick" albums and to the photographs.  

So during this last visit, we spent some time every night removing the photographs from 22 large albums, and packing them up in ziploc baggies to be carried home in our luggage.  The photos are faded, foxed and even moldy.  I will spend a lot of time in the coming year scanning them, sorting them, and Photo Shopping some of the more precious family photographs to restore them.  Most of the originals will have to be destroyed.  I hate to get rid of them, but their condition is just that horrid - we can't keep them because of the mold and destruction. 

Fortunately most of the photos are labeled on the back, and some even had typed descriptions on the their reverse.  We wrapped up each set in paper, with a written description of the vacation, year, dates, people, etc.  My husband's mother worked for Iberia airlines in the 1960s to the 1980s so there were lots of fantastic photographs of trips to Spain, as well as Egypt, Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Argentina, and all over Europe.  I found some photographs of my first trip to Puerto Rico in 1980, and Vincent found some of his baby photographs.  It was a trip down memory lane to see these, even though they were faded and damaged by the tropical climate. 

My friend from New Hampshire helped us to recover the photographs.
We also spent a lot of time reminiscing about people and places!

Vincent was delighted to find this photo of himself as a newborn baby!

It was difficult to remove some photos from the sticky pages,
and others were already falling out, and the plastic
covering was breaking into pieces.

We bundled the photos in groups, labeled with
dates, geography, names of people, etc.

It took five nights to recover all the photos from over 22 albums

This is one of the oil paintings damaged by the tropical climate.
It has darkened and is almost totally obscured.  You can barely see the Madonna.
The artwork and books will be moved by an express company next year. 

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Copyright (c) 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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