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

Will 1869 albumin photos be damaged by scanning?

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Old 08-04-2009, 04:42 PM
belmarhistory belmarhistory is offline
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Will 1869 albumin photos be damaged by scanning?

Hi! I'm a new member with the Belmar HIstorical Preservation Council. We have a number of great albumin-produced photos from 1860,. Before I scan them into my computer I want to be certain the scanning process will not damage the original prints. Does anyone have any experience to guide us through this? THANKS!!!
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:35 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Will 1869 albumin photos be damaged by scannin

Welcome to RetouchPro.

No experience with potential damage. However, some experience with the fluorescent light reacting with the coating to produce a bit of a fog on the resulting scan. Hence, sometimes photographing is more appealing. In fact, re-photographing is becoming more popular due to its being less invasive, much faster, and (with the right camera and setup) very near as good as a scan.

As far as I know, the normal spectrum of light (ranging from near infrared to ultra-violet) from examination, photographing or scanning is generally not considered damaging to any coatings of the 19th century.

I suppose it could depend on when (in the era of Albumen prints) the images were created. If they were very early Albumen's, the coating could be one that was less popular, possibly experimental, and possibly more fragile. If later, the coating is likely one that was adopted due to popularity and longevity. Hence, it should be stable under fluorescent light, at least as stable as under the light it is exposed to every day.

You could try and contact someone at the American Institute for Conservation's Photographic Materials Group and ask as well. AIG-PMG
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:39 PM
belmarhistory belmarhistory is offline
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Smile Response to query from belmar historical council

Thank you for the quick response. I will report to the council and send a further question to the AIG. The information provided on this site is fantastic!
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