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

Overwhelmed with recently inherited Photo colection

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Old 02-08-2006, 04:12 PM
Earlene Earlene is offline
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Thanks to all for the ideas. The digital project would be the easiest to share particularly since not all family members get together often to visit. So that will be one of my goals.

Sally, as difficult as it will be to get the photo-corner mounting straight on the page, I will probably have to go with that for these genealogical photos. The Imperial Slip-in format you suggested is nice but it won't support the substantial amount of caption information for some of the group shots and for some of the background story that my Mom is so generous with!

The magnitude of the project is daunting but what was it someone said - was it you? "Baby steps, baby steps"!

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Old 02-08-2006, 04:19 PM
Earlene Earlene is offline
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Old Photos Glued to Black Album Paper

One more question:

Will the microspatula that you mentioned work to separate old photos that are glued (and I mean glued - I didn't know they had Crazy Glue back in the early 1900's!) to the black paper of old photo albums? I thought about cutting around the photographs but that old paper can't be healthy for the photos.

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Old 02-10-2006, 05:41 AM
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pepperphoto pepperphoto is offline
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Phil and Sally Question

What type of software do you use for your DVD presentations?
I tried my free version of Roxio but I am still looking.
I also have a collection of family photos late 1800's to yesterday to deal with. I try to not let it overwhelm me by thinking of small steps. Had grandfather that was an amatuer photog and I have about 500 images the size of your pinky fingernail.
Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 02-10-2006, 06:52 AM
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Sally Jacobs Sally Jacobs is offline
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Thumbs down DVD Slideshows & Movies


I use iDVD for simple slideshows with title cards as captions, and iMovie for more advanced presentations with voiceover, video & film clips, etc. These are both Mac programs and I love, love, love them. Some day when my kids are older and I have more free time I'm going to create gen-u-ine historical documentaries with this software. (It's good to dream, eh?)

-Sally J.
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Old 02-10-2006, 07:09 AM
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Sally Jacobs Sally Jacobs is offline
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Photos glued to paper


A microspatula can help in your situation if the glue is already drying out and/or it's only 4 dabs of glue on each of the corners. But it can't safely separate a photo that's strongly glued to paper.

Balance test
While it's true that acidic paper will slowly destroy photographs, you need to make sure that the cure is not worse than the disease. That is a basic law of preservation.

I would *not* recommend using solvents or even water to dissolve the glue. If you decide to use either of these measures (both of which I consider extreme) make sure you create a high-res digital copy first as a backup.

Extreme measures
Sometimes the only information about a photo is written on the back, but can't be seen because it's covered with glue and paper. In that case it makes sense to create a digital backup and try to remove the paper and glue. I recommend a drop or two of distilled water at a time, holding the photo in such a way that any excess water drips away from the emulsion.

Less extreme measures
You can either cut out the photographs and put them in a new enclosure, or place sheets of high quality archival *buffered* paper in between each page. Archivists call this "interleaving" and it creates a barrier between the acidic paper and the emulsion side of your photos. Buffered paper will actually *absorb* acid from other materials.

Good luck and all together now:

baby steps, baby steps, baby steps!!

- Sally J.
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Old 02-12-2006, 04:12 PM
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HeritageMom HeritageMom is offline
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Hello and Information

Hello to everyone. What a fabulous website! I stumbled across it looking for some information regarding my digital photos and just read through this thread with great interest as I'm going through the same thing...I just recovered my deceased mother's albums and photos and I've begun the tedious process of rescuing the photos out of the sticky albums, scanning them all into my computer, and restoring the ones I can.

Two things I wanted to tell you all about-

The Pampered Chef sells these "brown plastic scrapers" with their stoneware that make the PERFECT sticky page album photo removers! They are about 2 inches square and they have a slightly "sharper" edge on one side and are excellent for getting under the tips of photos and then easily removing them. My friend swore by them and so I got some and YEP!!! FABULOUS. I think a set of three is less than 5 dollars.

Second, for those of you that posted about coffee table books and being able to create your own archival printed books, I've got GREAT news. I WORK for a company called Heritage Makers that allows people to create their own online account, upload their photo files, write as much text as they want to, and then PUBLISH Commercial Quality Hard Bound books!! Because you can upload any digital file that is saved in jpg format, you can ALSO do the "digital scrapbook" thing with birth certificates, ticket stubs, postcards etc as long as you save your finished "layout" as a jpg!!

We use a digital PRESS to print each book on acid free, heavy grade, glossy paper and double bind them with acid free glue AND sewn stitches. every page is customizable to the creator and you get to design you own covers too. We even give each book an ID# for reprinting or re-editing in the future...even generations from now.

You can see our products on my website and I'd love to tell you more.

But my MAIN intent was to thank you all for your information regarding preserving photos etc because I teach photo organization/preservation classes in my town and I'm always looking for more tips and hints! I can't wait to read through the forum completely!!

THank you!!
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Old 04-06-2006, 03:36 PM
Sheri Medford Sheri Medford is offline
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Posts: 35
I too have a huge collection from the 1980 on up. I am scanning and will do storage, CD, and albums of the best of the best. But one thing I did that is my favorite creative project for my parents (years before photoshop) was dad made me a large shadow box (probably 3 x 4 feet) with a hinged glass door and lock. It had small sections that allowed small shelves (the depth of the box was about 4 inches) to put objects. Then I pulled out all the photos, newspaper articles they had saved ( yellowed with age, but in good shape) other items, old thread and thimble of moms, military metals of dads, a shoe, an old baby purse and shoe, a ceramic 1" doll with broken arms, and then filled the box with them, I also added some dry flowers (small bits only in a few places) It is wonderful, and tell their story, a love that lasted 65 years (so far). The photos are central to the display. That way it is on the wall, the most precious is always ready to view. and to pass on to other generations. Question: Is there a special glass or other ways to make the photos and other things (like telegram and love letters) from decaying? Or is a tight glass covered box enough? We have it on a wall out of the sun with a small light to display it. Is that okay. It only takes a day to do after the shadow box is bought or built.
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:14 AM
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Sally Jacobs Sally Jacobs is offline
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Shadow Boxes for Display

Dear Sheri,

I love the idea of the shadowbox, can you post a picture of it? It sounds like such a beautiful tribute and clearly a family treasure that many people can enjoy.

From a preservation perspective, wood is a poor choice for long term storage. Wood has chemicals, colorants (stain) and clear coatings -- and many of these can interact with treasures and cause damage. Metal shelving with a baked finish is the safest storage because you don't have the wildcard factor that you have with wood. But preservation is a balance test. Would a metal shadowbox be an OK substitute? Not really. Too cold, if you know what I mean. So while I can't recommend wood shelves for long term storage...I'm not going to tell you not to use this incredible display piece.

And display is important. Treasures should be appreciated and enjoyed. The stories they hold need to be shared with others. Otherwise they have little value.

Here are some maintenance tips and improvements you can make:

1. Gently dust the objects on a regular basis (thread and thimble, military metals, clothing, ceramic doll)

2. If you like, you can replace the glass you have with UV coated glass or plexiglass.

3. I strongly recommend that you to replace the paper originals -- photographs, letters, and telegrams -- with copy prints made from a scan. Or even just color photocopies. You want to share these items, but you also want them to be readable for as long as possible. Once you've made copies you can keep all the orignals in a high quality archival box ($20 or less) and put it in an interior closet. Interior closets are the part of your house with most stable temperature and humidity levels.

However, I also understand the power of the original, actual, authentic artifact. In that case, I still recommend that you *still* make a second set and put the *copies* in a good box in an interior closet.

I hope this sounds do-able. I try to be as pragmatic as I can with family collections. Best of luck to you, Sheri. Please let me know if you still have questions.



Sally Jacobs, Archivist
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:30 PM
charlottecut charlottecut is offline
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Newbie Re: Overwhelmed with recently inherited Photo cole

First thing-----How is everyones inherited photo projects going?

Hi there, I just found this great site and have been snooping all day. Lots of fun! This is my first post and I feel like I almost know some of you.hehehehe

I am in a similiar situation as my mom passed away last March and I have tons of photos and so did she. Some are doubles-but lots that I didn't have-like my brothers and I baby pics, when we were growing up, and some before I got my own camera (years ago).

I just bought my copy of Photoshop elements and premiere elements 7. I just bought an external hard drive specifically for pics and video.

The plan is to gather all my many pics (camera cards, cd's and eventually scan photos into hard drive) sort them out and tag-Photoshop has a great tool for face recognition-it is a blast to use-and so easy. Then I'm not sure??

I like the idea of coffee table books--that is cool. Also the slideshow cd/dvd's is cool too. Any other ideas?

I am very new at photoshop/premiere and it is taking forever to learn things--I wished there was a class I could take nearby-once a week or something-or find myself a cheap tutor to help me through the rough times. Oh well, I will just keep plugging along and checking out every inch of this wonderful group.

One of the things I can't seem to understand in Photoshop is Albums verses tags? I kind of have the jest of it--but would like to get it clearer before I get into the other 8000 pics I have saved onto my external hard drive (havent gotten scanned ones in yet---wayyyy big job)

Looking forward to chatting in the chat room sometime.

Thanks again for all the wealth of info here-I will be checking back often.

Have a great day and keep up the good work
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:56 PM
LaviniaAnn LaviniaAnn is offline
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Re: Overwhelmed with recently inherited Photo cole

Dear All,
I'm hoping this thread is not so old that someone won't read it and respond. I am working on the photo project for my husband's family-there are five siblings that want to share all the photos of their parents' families and so I am scanning them. We, too, have black albums with photos glued on and can't remove the photos to scan them--there are photos on the back of the pages or I'd cut them off and re-mount. How do you scan whole pages of these albums? Can you really get good individual images? And is it better to save the images in .tif than .jpegs? Do I have to re-scan the hundreds I've already done?
Still new to this--any help appreciated
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