Sunday, March 8, 2009

Picture Perfect?

My dad had a lot of photographs from his time in the Army Air Corps. They are now all scanned into my computer - quite the time consuming task. Because they were taken and processed 65 or more years ago, without benefit of a photo lab, they are not in the best condition. So I fired up Photoshop and began the laborious process of photo restoration. Some of them need the services of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon to give them a face lift, but I am doing the best I can with my modest knowledge of the software. As I study the photos, I wonder about the barely men with their smiles mugging for the camera. What was it like to be separated from their families, literally dropped into a world filled with poisonous snakes, blistering heat or never-ending monsoons, with malaria running rampant? Unlike today's soldiers, they had very little ability to communicate with loved ones back home. My dad and I talked quite a bit about his years of service. Unlike a lot of men of his generation, he didn't seem to mind talking about his experiences. Unfortunately, I did not take the opportunity to label the back of all the the photos stored haphazardly in an old cigar box all these years. So some of the places and subjects in the pictures will remain a secret. But I do know which ones are of him, and after all that's who the book I am writing is about.

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