Operation Photo Rescue, Louisiana photographers rescue damaged photos

A group of Louisiana photographers have partnered with Operation Photo Rescue to offer free help to restore family photos damaged in Hurricane Ida.

The collective group, called Family Photo Rescue, is made up of local and commercial photographers who live in the Greater New Orleans and Houma-Thibodaux areas.

Gerald Herbert, Associated Press photographer and group organizer, said he and other photographers saw the need to save family photos after disasters.

“When I was at LaPlace, I ran into someone who was emptying their house, and they had a trash can of soaked pictures of the flood, the hurricane. They were about to put them up. to dry and I was like, ‘No, no, no, that’s going to ruin them,’ Herbert said.

The incident inspired him to rally a group of photographers to preserve the memories of the community.

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Photographers will be at the Vision Christian Center, 4467 La. 24 in Bourg, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday to make photographed copies of family images. The images will then be sent to the nonprofit Operation Photo Rescue, where trained volunteers will digitally resuscitate the damaged images. Images will be printed and shipped free to the resident.

Misty Leigh McElroy, marketing and communications specialist and photojournalist at Nicholls State University, is one of the photographers who will help with the photo documentation portion of the efforts. Although she shared photos of the aftermath of the storm, which led to donations to nonprofits, McElroy said she wanted to do more.

“I’m driving in the bayou and I see the devastation and I just feel like I’m not doing enough, like I should be able to do something more,” said McElroy. “But it’s a great and different way for me to help as a photographer.”

Sony has helped by loaning digital cameras and other equipment to photographers.

Herbert said the group had planned possible future dates in the parishes of Lafourche and Plaquemines, and possibly even additional dates in Terrebonne depending on demand.

To learn more about Operation Photo Rescue or to volunteer, visit operationphotorescue.org/.

In the photo, the before-and-after result of a photo restoration made after Hurricane Katrina.

Before you leave …

Residents can choose up to 20 photos to submit for restoration. A digital copy will be made of the originals, and the owner retains the originals.

  • Bring dry photos.
  • If a photo is in a frame, dry, or still wet, do not remove it from the frame.
  • If you have a tub or large photo box with water damage, look at your photos outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Use gloves and a mask. If the photos do not come apart easily, they will need to be soaked to help separate them. However, do not soak them too much as this may cause the colors to dissolve.
  • All damaged photos are not recoverable. Before submitting an image, make sure it contains enough recognizable information.
  • The wait time for the finished and restored photo may vary depending on the volunteer workload and the severity of the images. It may take several weeks, months, or even a year for the photos to be completed.

“I wish we could restore everything, but sometimes there are photos that are too far away. Look at the photo and see if you yourself can see enough information in it,” said Operation Photo Rescue President, Margie Hayes. “You don’t want one where the eyes have been washed or maybe three-quarters of the face is gone or something. We’re not going to pretend. There has to be that information. the low.”

– Emily Enfinger is a reporter for The Courier and the Daily Comet. Follow her on Twitter at @EmilyEnfinger. Email Emily at [email protected]

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