As part of my daily routine I read many photography blogs and websites and view images constantly. Every once in a while a photo passes my way that evokes such emotion that I simply find it stunning. This year marks 30 since I along with 300 other friends and classmates walked out the doors of Thomas Jefferson high School in Alexandria, VA, diploma in hand. As our October class reunion nears I find myself sifting through old photos seeing what I can come up with that may inevitably embarrass my classmates in the reunion slideshow.
Through the wonders of FaceBook a classmate and friend of mine, Debbie, contacted me to ask if I could do anything with a handful of old black and white negatives she had found in the bottom of a box. Now I am a sucker for vintage photography. All the better when its people I may know. I said “send them!”
The negatives arrived and promptly sat on my desk for days. I eventually scanned one strip to examine the quality and was very surprised at what I found. For the most part the images were intact and the scanner did a great job. Yes they were scratched and pitted but I knew with a little photoshop savvy I could turn some of these into cool images for the slideshow.
Most of the images were what you might expect from a high schooler just learning photography; friends giggling and having fun, maybe someone giving you the bird ; ) I did manage to find a couple very funny ones and one or two of myself. Then I stumbled on the photo below and was shocked.
Debbie had captured this stunning image of our friend Jim in the senior court during our last year in high school. James (Jim) Knipple was a very popular student and athlete in our class. I personally only knew him casually during our years at TJ but he was always nice to me and it didn’t go unnoticed. I did, however get to know him more in the year and a half after school as he had started dating the younger sister of a friend of mine. I would run into him on weekend nights when he would be picking up one sister and I the other. I remember well talking to him about his time in the Marine Corp, meeting one or two of his buddies, and especially what it was like living in Beruit.
I, like many others, was shocked and saddened when I heard of his passing on that terrible October day in ’83 when a suicide bomber ran a truck into his barrack in Beirut killing he and many of his buddies. I like to think he was resting peacefully and never saw it coming.
Shortly after stumbling on this photo, Debbie and I reached out to Jim’s sister, Maggie, and sent her two canvas images of the final shot above. I don’t know Maggie, but I can only imagine how pleased she must have been when they arrived.
Thank you Jim for all you and your buddies did to serve our country. The ones you left behind are better for it and your service is greatly appreciated.
Thanks Debbie for capturing such a great image and letting me play with it.
PGS (photography geek speak): The original image was scanned from a 30 year old 35 mm b&W neg with an Epson Perfection V500 scanner. The scanner actually converts it to a black and white (positive) image. The image was then pulled into Adobe Lightroom and tweaked for contrast and clarity. Then its pulled into Adobe CS5 where its retouched for specks, hair, and other anomalies. I made one correction on Jim’s eye explained on the original image on my FB Fan Page (look in the gallery section). I also ran the Imagenomics Portrait Pro plug-in to further clean up Jim’s complexion. The photo was converted from B&W to RGB color space so I could add a slight vintage tint. The final image is framed using the onOne Frames plug-in for Photoshop.
Looking forward to reconnecting with old (OLD) classmates in OCT.