SOUTH BEND — While many homeowners are replacing walls and floors in their flooded homes there are some things they can’t replace.
Things like personal photos and home videos.
A place in South Bend specializes in restoring those personal belongings. One photo shop has been restoring old photos and videos for years, but now they’re seeing a few flood victims turn to them to preserve their most treasured memories.
Gene’s Camera Shop is known as a place to purchase camera equipment and print large canvas photos.
But about 10 percent of their work involves returning what seemed to be lost.
Jack St. Pierre says they’ve seen a handful of flood damaged items come in to be restored.
“One person brought in over a hundred video tapes that were flooded,” St. Pierre said. “We had another customer that had about 50 to 54 video tapes that they need transferred. We had a customer with a 4X5 inch negative that had gotten stuck to some paper and we’re cleaning that.”
The cost varies depending on the damage and how long it takes to restore them. St. Pierre says the sooner the better.
“All of those important times in our life. You hate to see them ruin because of a flood. But we can do something about it if you bring them in,” said St. Pierre.
Digital Imaging Manager, Chris Hall, has spent the last 17 years at the shop — many of those years spent restoring old family photos.
“Each one is a different story. They all can’t be fixed the same way. Flooding damage is an extremely tough to do. Cracks and definite things where the detail is still there it’s something easier to do,” said Hall.
Hall says attending to the flooded photos quickly could help with the damage.
“Just getting them dry and separated from other things while they’re still wet would be most helpful. If they dry when they’re stuck there they’re pretty much…nothing they can do. The emulsion is laid on the paper and peel off and then there is nothing much you can do about it,” said Hall.
The store owner says some of the worst places to store photos and videos are attics and basements.
You can protect these items by keeping them in archival storage boxes or making digital copies with on a back-up hard drive.
Gene’s archives all their work as well, so if anyone had photos or videos done there in the past can get them from the shop.