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

Type of Picture?

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  #1  
Old 12-17-2007, 09:46 PM
indnajnsq indnajnsq is offline
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Question Type of Picture?

Hi All. I have a novice question for you. I have an old photograph that I'd like to know what "type" of photo it is. I'm hesitant to call it a tintype, as it doesn't seem to have enough "tin" in its composition. There is a metal back plate, and the picture itself is on a ... varnished paper? If it were a modern photo I'd say the paper was plastic. Based on the age of the little girl in the photo (my grandmother), it was taken about 1919, give or take a year. (she was born in 1916) At some point in the past the picture had cracked and some industrious soul scotch taped it -- Front and Back. When I removed the tape, the picture broke into three pieces. It is very brittle and has curled so much I don't dare scan it. Can I use a humidifier to uncurl it? Is there any solvent safe enough to remove the leftover tape sticky? And just what type of photo is this? My family only has one or two others like this one.
For a look at this photo in its current state, please go to:
http://www.indnajns.com/misc/pics.html
Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:38 PM
indnajnsq indnajnsq is offline
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Re: Type of Picture?

Lots of lookers, no replies. Is it because it's such an obvious answer or because no one really knows? Help?
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:36 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Type of Picture?

Usually if people have looked at your post and not replied it is because (like myself) they don't have anything constructive to suggest. No one here would snub you because they thought an answer was too obvious, we're not that type of site.

Be patient, generally someone with pertinent experience will reply.
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:29 PM
indnajnsq indnajnsq is offline
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Re: Type of Picture?

Thank you. I was a little concerned, considering how you can get treated on some boards.

I came across a scanned image of another one of these pics we have. This one is complete. So if you want to see what it's supposed to look like "undestroyed", I added it to the link.
http://www.indnajns.com/misc/pics.html

Thank you in advance,
Indy
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Old 12-30-2007, 02:07 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Type of Picture?

Thanks for the extra information.

It certainly is an intriguing problem you have. I know we do have members who specialise in conserving old photographic media, and hopefully one of them will see this thread and chip in.

I've just got to suppose that because it's the Christmas Holidays that not as many members as usual are viewing.

The only thing I would say on this, speaking as a complete ignoramus in such matters, is do not attempt to remove the scotch tape marks yet, and before you do anything at all make sure you have taken as many photographs as you can of the damaged images.

It's almost certain you won't be able to scan them, so well focussed pictures of the highest resolution you can achieve would seem to be what you'll have to work with.
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Old 01-09-2008, 01:12 PM
indnajnsq indnajnsq is offline
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Re: Type of Picture?

Well, we have a tentative answer. The LOC didn't know, the MOC (Musuem of the Confederacy) didn't know. But the George Eastman House thinks it may be a "photo button", even though the actual print is really about 6"-7". They say it could be a bromide print with a nitro-cellulose coating. They also say there's probably no hope of saving my destroyed picture.

So, the new question for you all is this: Is anyone familiar with bromide prints with nitro-cellulose coatings and can they be softened enough to uncurl this photo so I can at least scan it? Again, thank you in advance.

ts
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