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

Curled, cracked photo

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Old 06-26-2005, 08:16 PM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Oregon City, Oregon
Posts: 212
Roger is the one that got it right. Use an Atomizer with a bit of glyceryn or photo-flo. Spray the back not the emulsion side. Put the prints under weights for a week and repeat the process.

If this is something that keeps coming up for you as it does for us, go to your nearest commercial glass installer and have them cut up some scraps into 8x10, 11x14 etc. They always have extra pieces of heavy plate glass from commercial installations and will cut it to size for you. Glass makes great weights --just use it in conjunction with a blotter pack. We have them in all sizes up to a 1 foot wide by 8 ft long. The long panoramas from the turn of the century always show up here rolled and brittle after being in a attic for a century and it often takes six months or more to flatten them doing it the way suggested.

Other suggestions to plasticize the originals by soaking will work if you are in a hurry and willing to pay the consequences of potential damage from loss of the emulsion near any cracks. It's doable, in fact you can even float the emulsion off of the backing and put it on a new substrate but this is not something to try on a client order until you've successfully done it with some of your own.

Jim Conway
Timemark Photo Conservators
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:33 PM
ahuizenga ahuizenga is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
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Re: Curled, cracked photo

you mentioned about floating the emulsion off the backing of a fiberbase print and putting it on a new substrate. I'm trying to figure out how to do this and haven't been able to find any information online except for transfering polaroids or albumen prints.
My feeble attempt was to just soak the prints I had in water. The emulsion lifted off after a few days, but it completely fell apart so I wasn't able to transfer it.
Do you have any suggestions on doing this sort of thing successfully?
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