|Olga Diaz walking along Downtown Miami|
It's been nearly a year and a half since my mom passed away and as continue to go through the things that she collected during her lifetime in exile (1958-2008), I'm still finding buried treasure; namely photos of my mom and dad from their younger days. First of all, there are very few images of my mom prior to her arrival in the United States. They were not allowed to bring photos out of Cuba, so there, they remained and probably lost to the ages. As to the photos of my mom during her 20's as a single woman in Miami and as a newlywed in 1961, there are also very few pictures that exist. My dad used a medium format camera back then. Strangely, some of the pictures, the B&W's are in decent shape. The color images? Well, a lot of them faded, but some are as vivid as the day they were taken. Must have been the film stock my dad was using back then. All the negatives were lost long ago, so these prints are all I have. Even most of the photos of my youth, my early birthday parties, have faded to the point that even restoration cannot bring them back.
For the last 6 months, I have been putting all these old pictures together, including my first photos on 35mm from the 1970's and beyond, and I have been sending them to Scancafe for scanning and restoration. I hope to organize the images and have them printed in photo books so my kids will be able to see where they came from and how their grandparents and parents lived in the old days of the 20th century. It's wild finding these pictures of my mom and my aunt when they were in their early 20's; they looked fantastic. I just wish there were more photos taken by them, especially of the places they lived and the city as well. People change and so do their homes and cities. Miami has changed so much since I was a kid, I only wish I had seriously photographed the city a lot more in the 1970's and 1980's, especially the landmarks that no longer exist.
The picture posted here is one that has captivated me. First of all, a large chunk on the lefthand corner had been ripped and gone. The folks at Scancafe did a great job in restoring this picture for me. I love this picture not only cause it's my mom, but it is simply an amazing image. First, it shows off old Miami, the old cars, Biscayne Blvd. when it had all the coconut palms. Second it shows my mom, in her early 20's, beautiful, vibrant, ready to take on the world, and of course her amazing smile that has enthralled so many people throughout the years.
When I finally get to printing that photo book of my mom's life in pictures, I think this one will grace the cover.
So some advice to you all, get all the photos of you and your family, of your parents and grandparents, and great grand parents, anything you have, and get them scanned and restored. If the pics are in old albums, take them out if you can before the chemicals in the plastics destroy your photos. If you have negatives, scan them and sleeve the negatives and keep them in special photo boxes to preserve them.
You can then organize the scans using programs such as lightroom and you can then create photo books. The pictures will be there in a book for everyone to enjoy; the quality will be superior, and you'll have the scans backed up in multiple formats in your archives just in case something happens to the photo book.
Now back to your regular programming.