Preserving Our Past

My father is 84 years old. His mind is sharp, his memories vivid, but the photographs he stores in a shoebox on his desk are in bad shape. Since digital programs are available to repair the cracks of age, I decided to scan a few pictures and return them to their original glory, but when the original glory itself is less than desirable (blurry, badly positioned, etc.), there isn’t much one can do.

Yet I did manage to crop images and put them into a single family photo.

Here’s a sample:

Severe water damage.

Severe water damage.

Repair work begins.

Repair work begins.

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The finished product includes aunts and uncles, five sons and one daughter (my dad is the last on the right).

To insert my uncle on the far left also required a bit of creativity since he was not front and center in the original. After cropping him, I also flipped him. It’s one of only a few pictures of him I have ever seen.


Can you find my uncle?

A photograph is a lot easier to repair than a building.

One of my favorite things to do is visit the ruins of Old Spanish Missions, prehistoric Indian sites (like Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico), protohistoric sites (there are Ute prayer trees, or trees that have been culturally scarred, only a few miles from my home), and historic architectural sites that have been restored (someday I hope to visit Restoration Hardware‘s Boston store).

The saying “nothing lasts forever” relates to buildings for sure, but even mountains erode (the Appalachian Mountains are “softer” than the newer, and therefore harder, or rugged Rocky Mountains ). Thankfully, some sites have been sheltered by ingenious means, protected from sun, wind, rain, and the like.

For example, the hilltop ruins of a Baroque church in the Spanish city of Corbera d’Ebre has an armature that covers the building while still allowing for lots of natural light (another wish-list place to someday visit ).

Until I am able to visit the glass ceiling in Spain, I am content to remain closer to home. And why not? It is easy to be captivated by beauty–even (especially?) in the ruins.

Visiting Tumacácori Mission ruins in AZ

Visiting Tumacácori Mission ruins in southern Arizona

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