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Photo Restoration Repairing damaged photos

Sex Lube and Old Photographs!!

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Old 04-29-2006, 12:29 AM
Fazools Fazools is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 59
Sex Lube and Old Photographs!!

Ok. This is not a tutorial as much as it is a chance for you to see what happens when you get creative and are able to sacrifice your original photo.

I found this photo of my grandfather with a girl he had met in the war in Italy, I am almost sure that the pic is a Calotype based on this description I found on the net.

"The earliest paper prints were Calotypes, which also used a paper negative. Paper photographs are often classified according the emulsion used to coat the paper. Albumen prints were introduced about 1850, and was widely used from 1860 to 1890. This emulsion was usually placed on very thin paper, and the drying emulsion tended to cause the paper to curl, hence the practice of pasting these papers to cardboard backings. Other papers may be called Salted, Carbon, Platinum, Bromide, etc. Modern "paper" prints are often not paper at all, but plastic.

since the surface is not tin, and seems to have a waxy surface that is coming off if I scrub too hard using PEC-12 ( a photo emultion cleaner)--- I knew that this photo was going to get ruined, and thought I would try something that I had heard about here, rubbing vasaline on it....However after re-reading WHY they were saying to use it, I realized that it was more for a blurry effect. This was not what I needed, infact what I needed was what I saw for a split second when I cleaned the photo with the PEC-12 solution. I was able to see through the cloudy (gelatin, I assume) film covering the top. This as you see does not let me get a very good scan.

Since my grandfather was lost very soon after the war and this photo shows him as a younger man, I knew that a good copy was most important.

I tried to figure out what would give me a wet look, without the alchohal evaporation that I get when cleaning with the PEC-12. This is where it gets weird, I thought about products out there that are created for this purpose. I needed something like a thick syrupy water to stick to the filmy stuff that was coming off, and to give me an even scan if possible.

I scanned this in at 1200 lpi using an epson 4490 and Silverfast AI Studio. I decided not to mess with the levels on anything at this stage, so I scanned it at 48 bit with all settings(0-255) open.

I knew that this was a one time deal, If I used the wrong product I might not be able to clean it off, or if I could, it might ruin the antique photo, but I knew I had no choice.

After, thinking it through, I came up with an idea, although I know it is a crazy idea, it worked wonders. Astro-Glide!!! Yes, you heard me right there...I know, I know, it has glycol and such in it, but if I could cover the picture surface with it, then press down, I might be in for a suprise. And I was.....

Here is how it went.

Photo 1.

This will give you an idea of the size of the picutre i was dealing with, I removed it frm the cardboard frame clearly so that I could press the picture face against the scanner glass evenly. (or so I tried)

Photo 2 shows the closerup destruction before I touched it of the old pic.

Photo 3 and 4, I decided that since I risked ruining the photo forever, I would try scanning it with a slight angle to see if this let me past that hazey film, it did not, so I put my common sense into the other room, and gloved up to douse one of the only photos of my grandfather with sex lube.....

I started with a q-tip, but the fibers and strands from it were catching on the photo so I used my finger then just squirted a good amount on, and used my finger to even it out.

I wanted enough on there so that it would not have bubbles, only the haze/film which would hopefully create that clear yet removable bond to the scanner glass and hopefully the photo. Astro-Glide cleans off very quickly and easily with tap water, so I grabbed a flat surface (clear plastic something or other) that would be used to press the photo, knowing that some of the Astro-Glide would swuish out the sides, but that was what it was there for....

I was able to scan a REALLY GOOD copy of the tiny fading photo.

I went ahead and included the scan from a little while ago off the orignial to see how it was olding up, and it does not seem to be ruined completly, although not real pretty either.

I have another photo I will be trying this with, although I do not think it will work the same, since the textures on the new photos are different. I will post what that one looks like tomorrow, getting late here now. Again, I do not expect you to go do this with photos that are clients, but it worked and if it helps anyone, then I am glad to helpout.

One thing to keep in mind, I did not do any levels/curves/tonal or corrective work on this yet, just wanted to show it in its raw form, without any touchups.

Take Care..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Photo 1.jpg (51.4 KB, 240 views)
File Type: jpg Photo 2.jpg (67.7 KB, 175 views)
File Type: jpg After Applying the AstroGlide.jpg (62.2 KB, 184 views)
File Type: jpg Applied, Cropped and Straightened.jpg (60.7 KB, 162 views)
File Type: jpg Original after cleaning and drying.jpg (73.9 KB, 258 views)
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Old 04-29-2006, 08:27 AM
Mike Mike is online now
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Grand Junction CO USA
Posts: 676
Did you try to copy this with a camera rather than a scanner?

It kind of looks like that might of worked, but your samples are kind of small and of course with out seeing the orginals its really hard to tell. But if you could use a camera one would not have the risk of damage.
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Old 04-29-2006, 10:02 AM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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i think what's he saying here is that the original was too dirty. a scan or a photograph would still have given a poor result because whatever was covering the image was indeed blocking the image detail. in looking at his before, the original on the card, and his after, the 5th image, i'd have to agree; a scan or photo would just be scanning or photographing the dirt and still make a restoration difficult.

it's still going to be a difficult restoration, but i can at least make out the detail on the woman's face now. so, well done, fazools. not sure i'd have had the nerve to try that. you might also check out the various 'cleaning' threads here on retouch; there are a couple other products mentioned for cleaning with links to web sites.

i also have to wonder if there isnt a book somewhere on cleaning. the history of photography is long and varied, with images being put on everything from tin, to glass, to cloth, to paper and not even sure what else. surely, someone has done research on the cleaning and maintaining of these various media for photographs.

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Old 04-29-2006, 06:59 PM
Fazools Fazools is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 59
I will upload a different pic tonight of this.

I wrote that last night after having not slept for 53 hours straight. I was going nuts trying to get all of this scanning done.

I will play with the levels and such and show you what I mean and how much of a difference it made.

I am packing now to head back to NC, but will leave the puter out so that I can play with the photo a bit.

Keep in mind that the last photo shown there is what actually happened to the original AFTER 6 hours of it being covered in the AG, scanned then cleaned off with water.
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Old 04-30-2006, 06:20 PM
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blue dog blue dog is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Princeton, NJ
Posts: 185

You implied that you didn't adjust the levels or curves when you scanned it? Maybe you didn't mean it that way. On really tough negatives you have to use the scanner to capture as much image as there is to be had. If you didn't, and I appologize if I am preaching to the choir here, rescan in color and adjust each channel for maximum range, then boost the brightness as high as it will go, then adjust the contrast to capture as much detail as you can.

I have pulled images out when the film was completely covered with silver and I wasn't even sure there was an image there.
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