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

Fungi on negatives/slides

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Old 08-23-2003, 05:02 AM
Mogens_Bohl_P Mogens_Bohl_P is offline
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Fungi on negatives/slides

I have come across several glas plate negatives (b/w) and colour slides with fungi on on both base and emusion side. Have any of you some good pointers to methodpapers/references covering how to stop and remove the fungi from the plates (chemical and physical methods).
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Old 08-31-2003, 08:20 PM
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thomasgeorge thomasgeorge is offline
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The best course of action for you to take would be to have a Museum Conservationist or someone with in depth experience and knowledge do the restoration/cleaning for you. It is all too easy for these types of photographic media to be irrevocably damaged by using the wrong techniques/chemicals and so on. At the same time the expert can advise you on the best way to store your collection to help retard deterioration. Good luck, Tom
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Old 09-01-2003, 12:08 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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I would suggest two things:

1) post the question to the PhotoConservation email list over at YahooGroups. It is an email list made up (mostly) of museum curators and professional conservationists.


2) come back here and post what they said and your final approach.

Yes, this is a delicate procedure and you shouldn't dive in with reckless abandon. But neither is it brain surgery. And it wasn't so long ago when the only answer to "how can I restore my old photograph" was "take it to a professional restorer".

With enough brave pioneers, over time this forum will become as valuable for physical repair as our other forums are for digital restoration.
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Old 09-01-2003, 01:34 PM
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thomasgeorge thomasgeorge is offline
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According to IPI and other sources any cleaning degrades the photo to an extent and if done incorrectly can cause extreme damage. If a person is willing to chance destroying or damaging their photos while learning the best way to clean them, thats their perogative, however, the Pros have spent years learning the ins and outs of this process while under supervision of other experts, and attempting to "wing it" via word of mouth advice without expert supervision just seems a bit unwise. However, if the owner of the photos is willing to devote many, many hours studying and learning by trial and error and is willing to sacrifice a few photos in the process, again, thats just fine. But if the photos are unique or of historical value, seeking professional help is the only wise choice...Tom
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Old 12-20-2004, 09:26 AM
westsidemaurice westsidemaurice is offline
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Many old negatives can be retrieved simply by soaking in room-temp water with a few drops of Photoflo per pint for a few minutes. Squeegee negs with your not-coarsely-calloused fingers. Photographers have long done this during processing of their own negatives and's much safer than using any form of squeegee other than fingers because your fingers have nerves in em' .

You may be surprised at the amount of black goop (perhaps fungus, obviously not silver because of the excellent printability that typically follows) that flows off the negative in the first pass of your fingers. I've just finished doing this with a dozen negatives circa 1896.

The future of most negatives is digital, so cleaning and scanning now is more prudent than hoping the negatives will last yet another hundred years.

Old lantern slides are typically dyed...I don't know about the solubility of those dyes, so I wouldn't risk wetting them... but I've saved hundreds of them by copying into 35mm. Failure to copy digitally or into 35mm is imprudent.

If the image is thought to be important historically, all bets are off.
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