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Restoring memories, volunteers save Sandy-damaged photos

Richard Drew / AP

Damaged photos belonging to Florence Catania, of Deer Park, N.Y., are evaluated during restoration by Operation Photo Rescue-Hurricane Sandy at New York's School of Visual Arts. on Feb. 2.

Richard Drew / AP

Photo restorer Dennis McKeever uses Photoshop to retouch a damaged photo belonging to Florence Catania of Deer Park, N.Y., on Feb. 2, during the restoration project of Operation Photo Rescue-Hurricane Sandy, at New York's School of Visual Arts.

Richard Drew / AP

Florence Catania, of Deer Park, N.Y., watches as her damaged photos are accepted for restoration on Feb. 2.

The AP reports: Of all the images of Superstorm Sandy's destruction, the ones that linger for Florence Catania are the torn, stained pictures that hung on her walls.

Her mother's decades-old wedding portrait, her own eighth-grade graduation photo, a snapshot that captured her mom on a carefree teenage day, all damaged in a Sandy-sparked fire at Catania's home in suburban Deer Park, N.Y.

But volunteers scattered around the world are about to start digitally mending Catania's personal photos and others battered by Sandy, banding together online to restore items that can't be rebought.

Founded after Hurricane Katrina, a nonprofit network of photographers, graphic artists and hobbyists has repaired more than 9,000 pictures discolored by floods, pockmarked by debris, speckled by mold and otherwise damaged by disasters in recent years. The Sandy project, which started this weekend, promises to be one of Operation Photo Rescue's most expert efforts yet.

Richard Drew / AP

Damaged photos belonging to Florence Catania, of Deer Park, N.Y., are evaluated during restoration.

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