How a Jersey photo business is saving memories for Harvey, Irma victims
WEST BERLIN — About 2,000 waterlogged photographs have taken over the dehumidified upstairs space of FotoBridge, a photo scanning and recovery business that's been inundated with phone calls and pleas for help in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The damp prints arrived in a 12x9 box, wrapped in a water-soaked garbage bag, according to FotoBridge owner Julie Morris. The customer called in tears, Morris said, after 20 inches of rain destroyed her home in one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods of Houston.
"She thought she had saved everything and forgot there was a box in the front hall closet of her parents' photos," Morris said.
The Camden County business already has between 25,000 and 30,000 images on hand from Harvey- and Irma-impacted areas.
"There will be at least triple that in house in the next two to three weeks," Morris said.
According to Morris, the business she owns with her husband is one of just five in the country that offer bulk photo scanning. FotoBridge converts any analog media to digital. In cases connected to the hurricanes, the company is holding on to the original prints until the photo owners have a safe place to store them. In the meantime, the scanned photos are sent digitally.
The company does not handle many photo recovery tasks; jobs typically come from proactive customers who want to make sure they have a backup for their memories, with or without a natural disaster on its way.
FotoBridge expects to recover about 95 percent of the wet photos received from the Houston survivor. Just a few were too damaged to salvage.
The company launched 10 years ago, Morris said, but superstorm Sandy did not result in a similar business boom for the Medford couple. Most of the staff was affected by the storm as well.
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