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

panoramic photos rolled up

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Old 08-17-2008, 08:43 PM
rie rie is offline
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panoramic photos rolled up

I have about 6 panoramic photos that have been rolled up for who knows how many years.
the photos are WWI era. At least one is by 'thompson illustragraph co'. There is some damage to them, a couple have cracks from trying to unroll them , a couple have tears, no idea how they got them. I'm guessing someone in the past has tried to flatten them out.
I'm by no means a restorer, so with that, is there anything a novice can do to flatten out the photos? is this strictly a pro job? Any ballpark figure for what a reasonable charge would be?
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:18 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: panoramic photos rolled up

I think much depends on their value to you, or to someone willing to purchase them.

Since we cannot see them to evaluate them, your best bet is to simply google photograph conservation preservation in your city, or in the yellow pages of your city. Then go by and have them take a look. Most don't charge to look. They can identify the paper type, age, etc and determine the best approach. They may be able to see enough to establish a rough worth, and that may help you decide whether to move forward, or stop.

Most prints that sit that long curled up will take a long time to uncurl. They have to absorb enough moisture to restore some flexibility, but not cause damage. It would be very hard to do at home. Conservationists have environmental chambers to achieve this. Only then can you begin the uncurling process, which also takes a lot of time. Again, if the images have no value, it may not be worth it. If they do, then you will have to be the judge.
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:40 PM
rie rie is offline
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Re: panoramic photos rolled up


My grand-dad got them when he was in the war, I think he is in one of them.
They'll probably stay in the family, so selling is out of the question.
I'd really like to be able to get them so that I could scan them in and at least keep them digitized.

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Old 08-18-2008, 12:53 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Location: Grand Junction CO USA
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Re: panoramic photos rolled up

The last few WW1 panos that I worked on where just as you described, rolled up for ??? years and mine where inside of some #10 tin cans.

I had a 20 x 24 inch print tray about 4 inches deep, filled it with room temperature water and placed the print into it. As it slowly sucked up the water we (me and a assistant) slowly with out forcing it, unrolled it. When it was flat, we placed it on blotters on a table long enough to hold it and let it dry, it remained almost flat.

Remember that these things can get to be quite long when they are unrolled. I think that the ones we did where 6 feet?

After it is flat one could then shoot it in sections (with overlap) and then stitch the sections back together in PS using the "merge" function.
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:49 PM
austin2k austin2k is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Austin, Texas
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Re: panoramic photos rolled up

Get a conservator to look at it. At worst, call the HRC at the University of Texas at Austin. They purchased a significant part of the EO Goldbeck collection and they should be a good resource.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:52 PM
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klassylady25 klassylady25 is offline
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Location: Edmond, Oklahoma
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Re: panoramic photos rolled up

I finished one that was 5'. It was from WWII era and General Patton was in it. Talk about history.

Good Luck. It's a worthy memory.
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