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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Technology Erases The Faces You Despise

PHILADELPHIA -- After Cynthia Dickstein-Kowaczek's husband left her 10 years ago, the Chicago woman reached for the scissors and scrapbook.


With careful tracing and snipping, she and her mother removed the ex-spouse from each family snapshot. Fortunately, he was at the edge of almost every picture. "My mom's a real good cut,'' says Dickstein-Kowaczek. "Me, I would have real jagged edges.''


Today, in the age of digital photography, Dickstein-Kowaczek's solution is considered old-fashioned. Now, with a few clicks and strokes of a computer mouse, graphic artists can manipulate an old print or negative and erase just about anyone.


And one chain of camera stores in the United States has begun marketing the service to divorc?es.


"We're not trying to come across as capitalizing on someone's misfortune," says Joe Nardolilli of the Camera Shop Inc. "It's a novelty item."


Taking a tongue-in-cheek approach, the company calls the service Divorce X. Not only can former husbands and wives be zapped from family photographs, they can be replaced with the lover, spouse or companion of the week.


The Camera Shop came up with the idea after customers began asking that people be eliminated from old prints. Six months into marketing the service, about 10 to 20 percent of the company's photo restoration requests are for Divorce X, said Nardolilli.