All Hands Volunteers Restore Japan in a Different Way

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While Japanese students rally round to rebuild the country literally from March's tsunami, the All Hands Volunteers from Massachusetts are restoring Japan in a smaller, but no less personal, manner-for the past few months.

The non profit organization has been repairing homes and clearing drainage systems in addition to hand cleaning an upwards of 55,000 photos; in some cases, professionals have even lent a hand in cleaning up the photos digitally. It is this act of putting back together that is making waves in the community.

Becci Manson, a volunteer with All Hands, travels from place to place with a portable scanner in order to immediately scan and send the pictures to those who have made the commitment to fix them digitally. Manson's day job consists of her retouching images for Barney's catalogues and publications akin to GQ. She thought of restoring pictures as another way to help.

"I'll send an email out to all the retouchers and say, ' I've got loads more images for you.' Those who write back and say they want a new one, I'll start sending the images," Manson explains the process of how the images get sent back and forth to the retouchers who are located everywhere from Sydney to Spain.

Manson comments on how often people in her field are criticized for making unrealistic portrayals of women in the media and how being part of something like this makes that criticism seem smaller.

"There's always someone who's got something to say about how thin someone is made or how flawless someone's skin is and the effect it has on young women. So when I set up the project, it was nice to think we could actually do something to help someone," Manson reflects.