Need some help--some history behind the images

Started Oct 5, 2008 | Discussions thread
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Ralph V
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Need some help--some history behind the images
Oct 5, 2008

I graduated high school in 1968 from a rural high school in Virginia. There were 117 graduating students and for the most part we were all close friends. Fast forward to two weekends ago when we had our 40th class reunion. It was good to see so many people, several of whom I hadn't laid eyes on since the night of graduation in 1968. But one class member stood out two weeks ago. His life hasn't been easy having been injured in the military and having had all ten toes frostbitten and removed after staying out in the bitter cold of North Dakota where he lived at that time as a civilian. I think he has only been back home twice since 1968, the last time being 30 years ago. He didn't even make it back home when his dad passed away just a few years back. Currently he doesn't drive, rides a special bicycle to and from work. He made the trip two weeks ago from ND to VA on a Greyhound bus. He was determined to reconnect with his class friends and many of his surviving family members who live in our small town.

He quickly became a representation to his fellow classmates two weeks ago as the heart and soul of our class as well as fine example of enduring pain, hard financial hardships and simply being too stubborn to allow life to get him down.

Now here comes the "I need some help" part. We are putting together an online photo album as well as a memory book of our reunion and we want a very special image of our friend to include in those. I'm including two full size image files that our class has chosen as possibilities for use in the album and book. The have had no post processing, they're just as they came out of the camera. I hope I have not broken custom here by posting such large image files but we want the final post processed image to be of sufficient quality that we can get prints of at least 8X10 from them and hopefully even as large as 11X14.

I've seen some astonishing work of some of the folks who frequent here and I'm hoping several of you will give these two images a shot at your various techniques. I personally like some of the smudge results (Pictus recently did one of my dog that was breathtaking) that many of you do but I'm interested in and would appreciate any technique any of you want to try. I want out classmate to be the focus of the image (lousy backgrounds in both need to go). I realize this post is much too long but I felt I had to give the story of this man so those of you who want to try some retouching will have some idea of what he is about and what he represents and therefore will be better able to put your own interpretation into your version of either or both of the included images.

I thank each of you in advance for your help!

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