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August 31, 2011

(Re)touch someone

Every so often you hear of a way to do good that seems so obvious that you wonder why you never thought of it. In this case it's volunteering to digitally retouch family photos damaged by the recent tsunami in Japan. Mouse over the image at right to see the results.

I heard the Restoring Photos for Tsunami Victims on NPR recently and immediately thought of the class we teach at Tri-C called Digital Imaging I. One project involves digitally retouching a damaged photo, usually one brought in by the instructor.

What if our students could work on photos from Japan? Wouldn't this be more meaningful and be likely to motivate them to do their best? It could transform a classroom exercise into an act of human generosity. I think most students would take the assignment much more seriously, and really care about learning how to do it well.

At the same time it would be harder for the instructor, since he/she would have to evaluate work done on 15 different photos with different challenges and levels of difficulty. It would create a less even playing field for the students. Perhaps the solution would be for everyone to work on the same photo, with the best result selected to send to its owner.

After doing this project I would expect that at least a few students would continue to volunteer and do more. I've posted the article to our faculty group in hopes of getting a few on board, either via a class project or through their own volunteer efforts.

For more info about the project and to volunteer to help, contact photorescue@hands.org. The sponsoring group, All Hands Volunteers, is one I haven't heard of before, but it's involved in helping organize volunteers to help around the world.

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