Memorial Day 2013 – “Red” Stockdale

Sherman D Stockdale color portrait abt 1945_retouched 2013

Sherman “Red” Stockdale, 2nd Armour Division

I think one of the really nice advantages of being a photographer is when you happen across an old photograph that had not been properly protected, thus in disrepair and in need of some restoration, and you can actually do something about it.

Earlier this year while I was researching another project, SNAPS, I came across a colorized black & white photograph of my dad, which was probably made at the end of WWII just before he mustered out, so guessing about 1945. He had already made Sargent, his rank at the end of the WWII and I am not sure of the other things on his jacket, but I think he has five bars for five years of service, which places him in the US Army for most of WWII. Occasionally he would tell some stories about his experience, but he did not like to discuss it very much. He was part a part of D-day. I recall him joking that he participated in the second day of D-day as it apparently got him out of the “brig” (aka jail) as a result of some heavy partying with some buddies; that’s my dad!

Nevertheless, the color photograph of him needed some restoration, see the original below. Just about all of my Photoshop magic was performed on a second layer with the clone tool. There were large areas that I could grab and eliminate the yellow tape marks on the four edges as well as the white areas within the uniform that had been damaged. I used the same clone tool to spot the print for the abrasion and other debris that had accumulated over the years.

I have decided against adding an image sharpening layer, which the photograph appears to be a bit softer than the original due to the softening issues with Canon 5D sensor. In this case, I think the slightly soft image works for me as this photograph is now a wonderful memory, and like all memories, does blurr and soften with time.

I think that his pose is a classic for the mid-1940’s, eyes slightly looking away from the camera lens and not directly connecting with the viewer. As his son, his personality comes through for me with the slight tilt of his hat, providing me with a feeling of a little bit of cocky swagger. Probably well deserved, having just completed the long march to Berlin (even photos to prove it!), defeating the Nazi’s, and still alive to talk about it. As to colorization of the black & white, I appreciate who did this work in getting the red hair (which I have little recollection as it was gray of what was left of it in later years as I grew up) and his blue eyes (like mine).

All in all, I think he cleaned up nice.


Sherman D Stockdale color portrait abt 1945


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