Photo restoration project honors Madison, NJ veterans

John Cinco vets photo restoration

These military photos are among those restored by John Cinco, assistant professor of computer graphics at FDU’s Florham Campus, and displayed at the Madison, N.J. Memorial Day ceremony. (Photo courtesy of John Cinco)

By Kenna Caprio

FLORHAM (July 2, 2014) — A request from the Patriotic Celebrations Committee of Madison, N.J. took John Cinco, an assistant professor of computer graphics at Fairleigh Dickinson University, back to World War II.

Originally, the committee reached out to the Florham Campus’ visual and performing arts department to see if students could preserve a number of historic photos of deceased Madison residents who served in the military. No one was available, so Cinco took on the project himself.  

“The material consisted of photographs, mostly taken from a printed source, possibly a book, and enlarged to about 8x10 inches,” says Cinco. “They were the only existing material the committee had, so they were worried about gradual deterioration and wanted to develop a digital archive.”

At the request of Wayne Henderson, a member of the Patriotic Celebrations Committee, Cinco added a purple border to the restored images to represent the well-respected Purple Heart medal.

“The enhancement consisted mostly of removing the halftone dots that are generated during printing and trying to restore as much of the original image as possible. There were also imperfections on some of the original images that had to be fixed,” he says.

He used Adobe Photoshop to complete the restorations, and ultimately preserved the original scans on a DVD along with the native Photoshop files and high-resolution JPEG images for printing. Background research on the soldiers accompanied each photograph.

Cinco’s volunteer efforts were displayed on the Wall of Honor at the borough’s Memorial Day celebration on Monday, May 26.

“The Memorial Day ceremony was actually the first I’ve attended,” says Cinco. “I did get to meet a few of the families (of the fallen service men) and it was a very fulfilling experience for me to know that I was able to do something for them as an ordinary citizen. The families and everyone else seemed pleased with the project.”

So pleased, in fact, that the Madison Borough Council honored Cinco with a proclamation at a recent council meeting. “Professor Cinco donated his time on a project that has touched many lives. This project took many hours, but it was truly a labor of love,” writes Madison Mayor Robert Conley in an email to Professor Howard Libov, chair of FDU’s visual and performing arts department. The proclamation also expresses the borough’s “gratitude and appreciation.”

“There are plans to extend the project to include those who died in World War I and that should probably happen in the coming year,” Cinco says.