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

photo repair (not restoration)

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  #11  
Old 01-18-2002, 09:44 AM
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Lampy Lampy is offline
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Hi again

DJ, yes planar distortion (a wavy surface) can be reduced by humidification and flattening.

And for Tom who asked is it better to attempt to paste/tape the damaged areas or to mount the photo on a ridged hinged (clam shell like) support mat, then in a suitable enclosure?

My approach would be to repair the damage first and then mat the photograph.

NEVER use tape on photographs or anything of value for that matter. Tape will yellow and stain the emulsion and support. These stains are typically not repairable. Most glues can be damaging as well. For anyone wishing to mount or repair tears you should really learn how to make starch paste and create proper conservation like repairs see http://www.nedcc.org/plam3/tleaf63.htm

As for mounting I don't recommend dry mounting photographs. I'm not going to go into detail about it at this time just please don't. Hinging or using acid-free photocorners is the best choice onto 4-ply 100% rag mat board (backing with a hinged mat). I think it's been mentioned elsewhere but it never hurts to say it again. Always use a mat between the photo and the glass when framing. If the photo gets wet and adheres to the glass it is difficult to get off. If the piece isn't being framed insert acid-free tissue between the photo and the window mat to protect the image and place in flat storage such as an acid-free box. Another way to protect the surface is to hinge another piece of mat board on top of the window but this will have to be removed if you decide to frame it in the future.

Again all of this goes back to the conservator's main goal of preservation before all else. If you spend a bit of extra time a little extra money to do it right now you won't be paying large sums in the future for conservation or digital restoration.

Ok I think that covers it. I'd encourage anyone interested to visit my website www.tudhope.net I have a question and answer section for different types of materials that maybe of interest. I will also try to take some of these questions and add them to the photographs section for others to reference.

Cheers!

--Heather

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  #12  
Old 01-18-2002, 09:59 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply. What is your opinion of a product produced by Neschen of Germany named Firmoplast? Is this any good or should it be avoided? It is suppost to be a "safe" tape for these type of repairs. Thanks again, Tom
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2002, 10:15 AM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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You just sign on and we bombard you with questions. Well, as you can see we are an eager to sponge up info here. Glad you have patience with us. The links you gave should really answer alot of questions. Thanks for taking the time to really teach us a few things.
DJ
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  #14  
Old 01-18-2002, 10:20 AM
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Tom I think you are referring to Filmoplast. I know all the archival catalogues sell it and it is a good product but I wouldn't use it on a valuable piece. The starch paste and Japanese paper method is so easy to do and easily removed and really in the long run it will be a lot cheaper as well.

I've have had to remove Filmoplast from pieces that have come into my studio and it isn't that easy to do and sometimes it will take paper fibers with it resulting in additional damage to the piece.

Just my thoughts.

--Heather
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  #15  
Old 01-18-2002, 10:46 AM
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No problem DJ it's been kind of fun

I've been needing to add some new questions to my own website so these questions have sparked some new ideas.

Not to mention it's always nice to let people know some of the basics and make them more aware of conservation. So many people are amazed how easy it is to damage things and how easy it is to avoid the damage in the first place just by doing one or two things differently.

--Heather
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  #16  
Old 01-18-2002, 11:19 AM
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I had never even thought of it before I got into digital restoration. Now I see how easily things can be done digitally that in the physical restoration would seem to be next to impossible. I guess cracks were one of those questions. Another one was the counterpart to cloning lost image details. It's just mind boggling to me the results they can achieve and I must admit I am in awe. It's something so easily done digitally but I can imagine it takes alot of talent to actually reconstruct image detail on the original.
DJ
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  #17  
Old 01-18-2002, 12:04 PM
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Painting conservators reconstruct major losses often but they have many layers of paint to do it in and can use a similar media for reconstruction. It is very different with photographs. You can't just recreate a loss with the same materials because of the process involve. There are however many ways to physically repair loss not just by toning. I think most photograph conservators use a more painterly approach to recreating losses when they do restoration work, I usually do. But it could be possible to digitally reconstruct the loss by reproducing it and infilling (attaching) the reconstruction into the lost area. But integrating the two print types can be difficult. I'm not saying this is the best idea but it's something fun to think about.

Personally I like to take a damaged photograph and do what I can to preserve it. If there is extensive physical damage then I will suggest digital restoration especially if the client is planning on hanging the piece (I'd rather see a copy fried by light then an original). This allows them to save the original and have a pristine piece. Also if I can clean and repair the piece before I scan I can get a better image to start with and have a lot less digital work to do. But I don't recommend this for everyone.

Getting back to saving the original....I think there was another discussion on this site about archiving the original vs. the digital copy. You always want to save the original. It is your best version of the information. Quality goes down with each generation (that is why it is better to work with a negative then a print if you can). The digital copy is great to have as well and it should be kept incase something happens to the original but there is a lot of debate on how archival it truly is.

There are so many more ways to loose a digital copy. How many people out there didn't convert their 8 tracks to cassette tape and later to CD? Or who has old floppies that they can't use anymore but wish they could get the information off. Alot can go wrong with digital information. A marker can ruin a CD, we can change formats and just not bother to convert the information. A harddrive can get fried or it can be damaged from a virus. A disk can be wiped clean from a magnet. Not to mention this media is suseptible to all the same threats as the photograph (temp, RH, flood, fire and so on).

Wow that was a tangent! Sorry about that. I get started and I don't stop!
Blah blah blah!

--Heather
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  #18  
Old 01-18-2002, 02:36 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Tangent? Hey that's what this forum is for so feel free to get carried away as much as you want.

Interesting idea of doing a digital copy of missing parts and apply them to the original. Seems easier than trying to airbrush in the details even if you have to go through painstaking efforts to match up to the old photo.

You made a good point about archived material being lost through changes in technology and disaster of course and each time we copy we loose a little bit more of the original. I am even considering copying all my vhs home movies to DVD when available because I know they won't last forever but I will also loose quality when I do. Those and my photos are the first things I try to protect during hurricane season. What a loss that would be.
DJ
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