Much of what victims of this summer’s deadly flooding lost is irreplaceable, but when it comes to photographs that were ruined, a Brussels company is partnering with Canon to have them restored free of charge.
The company, called Happiness Brussels, says their aim is to bring those photographs back to life and avoid the additional trauma that would come from having the memories lost forever.
Geoffrey Hantson of Happiness Brussels got the idea of a big photo restoration project after learning about the extent of the damage from news coverage on TV, according to RTBF.
“The lady we saw said, ‘my house is gone, my furniture too, but that can be rebuilt, bought back – the hardest thing is the disappearance of my memories, my photos,’” recalled Hantson.
Clinical psychologist Lotte Smets explained that people who value photographs see them as a way of holding onto memories of the past.
“Photos trigger memories in the brain and that gives them an emotional value,” Smets said. “And if you lose them, this emotional value is even greater. So they play a crucial role.”
Happiness Brussels worked with canon for the project.
About fifteen photos were collected, dried, carefully cleaned with cotton swabs and then scanned and digitally processed.
Some of these photos and their history can be seen this weekend at the Brussels Expo.
“This is the beginning of the operation,” said Hantson.
“We are calling on the victims to send us some essential photos to restore. It’s free and we print them.”
People can visit the official website for the project in order to submit their request to have photographs restored. The company will then travel to collect the photos.