More found photos…

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Healing Tool Original

“Can you you fix it?”

“Sure. We can clean it up, remove the yellowing, digitally repair the damaged areas. Give me about an hour.”

“Can you fix the missing part? Add the love back in?”

“You mean put back the missing person? We’re not called, ‘Photo Shoppe of Magic’ for nothing.”

“Good. Put her back in as if she belongs, almost like nobody ever left.”

“We’re experts in what we call digital re-assembly. The edges will appear seamless. We’ll also correct any differences in color cast or contrast, because when someone cuts out part of an image to fit inside a locket, years later, the two parts won’t look the same. The locket is exposed to more light, and the original rarely sees light. When you compare them years later, you’ll always see a difference.”

“I always have seen a difference.”

“The final image will look like she’s been in it all along.”

“You said an hour?”

“Yes. Maybe two. Just leave it here, and I’ll call you when it’s done.”

“I’ll wait.”

“Actually, I do my best work alone.”

“It’s okay. I’ll not get in the way. I’ll just watch.”

“There’s a nice café around the corner.”

“Thanks. I’ll stop in when we’re done here. What’s that thing do?”

“It’s a scanner.”

“Like for 911 emergencies?”

“Not exactly. I need to scan photos into the computer so I can start working on them. There’s chair near the exit if you’d prefer to relax while you wait.”

“That’s okay. I’m relaxed. Do you think they’ll take over some day?”

“Scanners? No. They’re too slow. Sir, where’s the rest of it?”

“That’s all I’ve got.”

“But where’s the missing part, the part you want merged with the original?”

“No clue.”

“How can I digitally restore the missing piece if I don’t have the missing piece?”

“The sign says, ‘Photo Shoppe of Magic’.”

“It does, but…”

“In the bottom corner, it even says, ‘Presto!'”

“But that’s just advertising.”

“I must have misinterpreted it as the truth. My mistake.”

“People do that sometimes.”

“It’s a shame.”

“It is. I’m afraid I can’t do much with the part that’s been cut out, but we can still restore what’s left.”

“I don’t need restored what’s left. It’s already left. Maybe I came in here with false expectations, and I think I’m leaving with less than I came in with. This place is like a bad marriage.”

“Who is she?”

“See, just like a marriage. Who?”

“The missing person. Is she your wife?”

“Was my wife, is their mother.”

“The glue.”

“Except glue sticks.”

“Until it gets tired of holding broken pieces, then it lets go. Why did you cut her out? Divorce?”

“She cut herself out. I’m here to get things put back.”

“Sir, if the missing piece is still missing, then how can you put it back? How can you put back what you cut out?”

“She cut herself out.” She cut herself with a razor.”

“She killed herself?”

“No she killed us. One Friday night she went upstairs and took a hot bath, like she always did on a Friday night. Yelled down for me to bring up the shoe box of pictures so she could reminisce about better times. She did that about once a month or so, reminisce about better times.”

“Photography lets us do that.”

“So, like an idiot, I took the box up to her. Even brought her a glass of wine to enjoy while she soaked.”

“Nice touch.”

“No, no touching when she’s in the bath. That’s her time. I walked in and she was as beautiful as ever, candlelight dancing, suds on her glistening body, all relaxed and smiling. ‘Here,’ I said, ‘and ‘here’.”

“What did she say?”

“Not a word. She pulled out this photo and held it next to the candle light. I asked if she could see the past better if I turned on the light, and she looked at me as if I’d brought up roadkill. She just drank with one hand and held up photos with the other.”

“Sometimes it’s good that we’ve got two hands.” ”

Sometimes it’s bad. So I left. Went back downstairs. I think I heard her singing.”

“What was she singing?”

“Some love song. They all sound the same. I fell asleep in the chair watching an old John Wayne western.”

“As if there could be a new one.”

“I think Dean Martin was in it.”

Rio Bravo, 1959.”

“That’s the one.”


“Yes. So, I fell asleep on John and Dean, and woke up in the middle of the night to an infomercial about an amazing kitchen gadget.”

“That’s sad.”

“We had pretty much everything they sold. Just not on those new colors. Anyway, I think she was already gone by the infomercial.”

“What makes you think so?”

“The room smelled fresh. So you can fix it?”

“The sadness?”

“The photo.”

“Here’s what I’ve done so far. Just some quick fixes to give you an idea. See the damage on the left, where some of the photo was ripped away? Here’s the before:”

Healing Tool close up before

“And here’s the after:”

Healing Tool close up after

“I guess it’s okay.”

“Thanks. What about the missing part?”

“Probably still inside her locket.”

“Where’s the locket?”

“She kept it when she left.”

“Isn’t it weird that she would cut herself out and take only her own image, and not her kids?”

“You had to know her. I guess neither of us did. When I went upstairs while the infomercial was on, I saw that she had removed herself from every family photo. And what’s worse, she left the candle burning. I could have died.”

“She took herself with her.”

“So can you fix it?”

“Not without the missing part. I can’t just make her up.”

“I know. You’re not a magician.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Even if the sign says presto?”

“Yes, even if the sign says presto.”

“Then can you put this girl in the blank space?”

Healing Tool Insert

“Who’s this?”

“The girl who checks on me.”

“She’s married?”

“Observant. Cut him out.”

“You want me to put the face of the newly married girl who checks on you, in place of your wife, in your old family photo?”

“Yes. Even a fake magician can do that much, right?”

“But this one’s in color. The original is black and white, and the background and pose and print and the size and surface texture, everything’s different.”

“Exactly. Fresh start.”

“Sir, it won’t look natural. I can resize her to fit, but I can’t change the pose, or the fact that this is her wedding photo, and the groom is in the image. Her husband.”

“He’s a jerk. Tell you what, don’t cut him out completely. Leave part of him in, just enough so he can see what’s going on. Don’t resize her. She’s the perfect size. Just plug her in the hole. She’s the same age now as my wife was in the original photo. But leave the pearl necklace. I got that for her as a wedding gift. Don’t blend her in. Leave the sharp edges. She’s the kind of girl who should always stand out from the background.”

“Sir, I just won’t look good –”

“It will look good to me. I’m an old man. I’m faded black and white. She gives me color. It splashes it all over the house every time she comes over. Stop trying to fix things. Just do what I’m paying you to do. Replace what’s missing. That’s all I ask.”

“You mean, like this?”

Healing Tool Merge

“Presto! How much?”

“Sir, this one’s on the house.”

“My day’s getting better and better. How hard is it to print two enlargements, one for me and one for her?”

“Done. You can pick them up at the end of the counter.”

“It is like magic.”

They don’t call us Photo Shoppe of Magic for nothing.”

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