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History, Conservation, and Repair The history of photographic prints, and how best to care for and repair them.

Please Help!!!

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  #1  
Old 04-09-2005, 12:18 AM
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1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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Location: Mississippi, USA
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Exclamation Please Please Help photos stuck together and filthy!

My best friend's house was recently destroyed by a tornado, they lost almost everything. This would include aLOT of their pictures. However, there were many photos and negatives found that I now have in my possession and am going to attempt to sort through. BIG PROBLEM!! Alot of them are stuck to each other because they were stacked up when they were still wet! How can I separate the pictures and clean them and the negatives to reduce my computer work without destroying them? Please, I am so desparate to help them save these bits of their past. What do I do? THank you Thank you Thank you!

Dawn

Last edited by 1STLITE; 04-09-2005 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 04-09-2005, 01:17 AM
Doug Colwell Doug Colwell is offline
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Hi Dawn, found this info on the FEMA website http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=4026

Photographs and negatives that have gotten wet and stuck together should never be pulled apart. Soak them in clean water until they separate on their own. Rinse them in more clean water. Do not touch the wet surface. Allow them to dry on a clean, smooth surface, or handle them gently, and hang them on indoor lines with paper clips or clothespins.

Good luck.
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Old 04-09-2005, 01:26 AM
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1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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Thanks Doug, I really appreciate the link. Been there. lol But the problem here is, well I guess alot of these are just going to end up being lost. This was 2 weeks ago that this happened, and they have been sitting stacked together now since then. I tried the water soakign thing on some of them, less important ones, and it is really no good for some of these, the print on the paper has turned to goo, and it just all is dissipating into the water. I am just going to have to do my best, and I know that they will be happy to get any of them back, having they have lost so much already.

There are even negatives here in those sleeves from the lab that are wet inside and all. Being really careful with them so to not damage them and am just going to have to let them dry and see what I can scan that way I guess, I know taking them out they woudl all be gone. UGH I just am at a loss. Also going further on the pictures, some of them when put in the water, the color is flaking off, although not nearly as much a problem so far as the parts missing from beign kept wet all this time. Oh well, off to work work work.

Thank so you much for your reply, Doug. Gonna keep on treckin' here.

Dawn
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Old 04-09-2005, 01:34 AM
Doug Colwell Doug Colwell is offline
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Sounds like you have your work cut out for you. The only other thing I can suggest is to contact a major museum in your area and talk to a conservator.
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Old 04-11-2005, 11:04 AM
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Juliana Ross Juliana Ross is offline
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For the negs...
use distilled water at 35 C
with some photo flo

you may have to soak them for several days before they will ease off.
hang the negative to dry, placing them on a surface to dry runs the risk of the negs sticking to whatever you laid it on should you pick the wrong side.

You could try the humidifier method for the stuck together prints....
again use distilled water.....

http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/sho...4&page=2&pp=15

see "alternative to soaking"
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Old 04-11-2005, 01:38 PM
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1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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thanks will try it.

Got through the first batch only lost a couple of pictures totally. Have two more batches to go through though. And then comes the task of fixing the ones she wants fixed. Yes, it's gonna be a heck of a project, but I am so glad to be able to do it for her. And of course grateful to you all, because I could not do it without you.

Dawn
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Old 04-21-2005, 02:24 PM
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Imagepro4U Imagepro4U is offline
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Hi Dawn,
Another helpful trick to separating photos like that is to steam them. Being careful not to burn your fingers, just boil a little water in a shallow pan, turn off the heat and let the steam come up, in between the photos. Do not tug at them, but let them gently pull apart. Good luck
Joann
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Old 04-22-2005, 09:31 AM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Who's paying for the time?

Patience is the key!

Because patience equals time -- and assuming that there are a number of people here who get into these things with the intent of making money, let me suggest that you have the owner of the photos check into their home owners insurance. Many policies cover these losses and people often overlook that fact. While there is no compensation for "sentimental" value, salvage is a different story.

Jim Conway, Conservator
Timeamrk Photo Conservators
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:57 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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i found that water at room temperature applied very sparingly will sometimes work. hold the photos up on edge and drip, maybe with an eye dropper, just enough water to soften things a bit. apply a VERY light amount of pressure. the proper amount of pressure is enough to separate but not tear the papers.

and, if you're really desparate and soaking is ruining the images, use a very sparing amount of water and an exacto knife, being very careful with the knife. a new single edged razor shld work also. use just enough water to lightly dampen a very small area at a time, insert the knife between the papers only on the dampened area.

you could also try carbontetrachloride, but as i've not used this myself for this purpose, i cannot attest to how this might affect the film itself. it certainly wont hurt the paper though. ether might also work. just be careful with these if you do try them and test small areas like you are now. ammonia also comes to mind, but again, no direct experience with this for this purpose, so proceed at your own risk.

Craig
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:12 AM
Countrybird1 Countrybird1 is offline
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Re: Please Help!!!

Thanks for these post as last year we had flooding also and we went to get photos out that we thought were safe in plastic storage containers.. an some are just ruined some are stuck togather and some are falling apart.. it looks like a mouse even got to a couple.. which is a dirty shame ... as we see no holes in the containers..
This site is great for the help.. thanks..
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