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

Cleaning photo prints

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Old 08-20-2003, 05:54 AM
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svsg svsg is offline
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Cleaning photo prints

I need to clean some photo prints before scanning. The b/w ones are old and have a rough finish on them and the color ones are mostly shiny on surface. They were kept in albums with thin plastic enclosing that often sticks to the photo. In addition there are fingerprints,dust and oily coatings. There are no major stains. How to clean these before scanning so that I don't have to bother about them while retouching in the image editor after scanning.
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Old 08-31-2003, 08:27 PM
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thomasgeorge thomasgeorge is offline
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To avoid irrevocably damaging the photos, take them to a Conservator who specalizes in this type of work. Attempting to clean old photos without training and supervised experience will usually result in severely damaging the print or, at the very least, increasing the image layer cracking, decreasing gloss, actually removing part of the image and so on. While it may take more time, if you cant afford to have the photos cleaned, just scan and repair in your image editor...the experience gained is always useful...Tom
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Old 09-01-2003, 12:09 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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See my response to this thread.
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Old 09-01-2003, 10:45 AM
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svsg svsg is offline
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even before I posted here, I did a search in various newsgroups. The solutions to similar problems were all contradictory to each other. Some people wash their prints, their logic is that colors cannot fade because anyway washing is done in developing.Some feel that water is a total taboo. Others use pure alcohol and cloth to wipe it.Some others use a chemical called PEC(or something like that). But I don't know who these people are and what their expertise is. I must admit that I did not do a thorough research on this. But I would surely spend more time on these newsgroups and post what I learn from there.Maybe then the experts here can give their opinion on the conclusions.
Thanks thomasgeorge and doug for responding

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Old 07-26-2004, 07:21 PM
mlatham mlatham is offline
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Always Scan first

Before doing anything to a damaged photo get a high quality digital image first. That may mean scanning or photographing it.

Loose dust maybe removed before scanning with compressed air, a soft paint brush, or one of the optical quality dry cleaning cloths.

Anything mounted on heavy cardboard or any of the tintypes should never be exposed to water.
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