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Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

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  #1  
Old 10-25-2006, 02:09 PM
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Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

jaxk's recent posts on oxidation of silvering in photos and how to clean it up, inspired this thread. i'd like a place here for posting physical solutions to cleaning up damaged photos and images. this is as opposed to digital means like photoshop and paintshop pro. i feel that some photos and perhaps documents and other items, might best be handled first by physical cleanings and treatments.

it's true that we deal mostly with digital solutions here in RP, but we are primarily concerned with solutions as a whole. and, it's probably quite true that an object that can be cleaned up first physically, is easier to then clean up digitally, if necessary.

so, this is the place for it. post your physical solutions to cleaning and restoring here. this is NOT a discussion thread, with the one exception being if you KNOW something that is posted here DOES NOT work, then please post that also. just list the solution, what do you do to physically handle water damage; what do you do to physically handle stains, tears, folds, rips, wrinkles, mud, dirt and dust? how do you remove a photo that is stuck to glass or stuck in one of those 'magnetic' photo albums? this is also NOT a question thread. for questions, post a new thread in the regular area.

in other words, i'd like this to be a 'faq' for physical treatments to restoring, whether it's documents, photos, canvas or whatever. you may also include physical treatments to preservation. let's build up a reservoir of information that people can find and use on physical restoration. a LOT of time can be saved in the digital handling if a physical handling is possible first.
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  #2  
Old 10-25-2006, 09:24 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Craig, great idea.

For Slides and Negatives: Light dirt, water stains, finger prints
Use Isopropanol (Isopropyl Alcohol)- must be greater than 90%. You can find 99% Isopropanol at most pharmacies. Make sure it is not rubbing alcohol which is only 70%. Most commercial film cleaning solutions are just Isopropanol packaged in pretty looking dark bottles with flashy labels.
Best is to dip and let the film air dry. If you must use a cloth, make sure it is lint free and soft.

For loose dust on negatives and slides, compressed air is the best. Not the stuff in a can that has trichloroethane but plain air from a compressor (60 - 80 PSI). Ideally the hose should have an in-line filter to prevent any moisture from getting on the film.

Regards,
Murray
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:59 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Greasy marks on prints and documents.
Light grease on surface -normal fingermarks for example, can be removed with a 'Putty rubber'[eraser for over there ;-) ]obtainable from art supplies stores.
A good alternative is plain flour dough -a small amount of flour with water mixed into a malleable dough.
Simply gently rub over the mark[s]

Heavier marks-
Oil and grease that has soaked into the 'fabric' of the substrate .
Place a tissue over the marked place, over that heavy craft paper[brown wrapping paper] and warm through with an iron at a low -rayon/nylon setting
You are attermpting to lift the grease back up into the tissue.
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:35 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Quote:
skipc
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ball point pen gone wild

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

i've never had one this bad. are there any suggestions for a reasonably fast method to remove the ball point damage?
This question was asked in this thread: http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/147932-post17.html and this answer was posed:
Quote:
yuccaview
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Re: ball point pen gone wild

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Get yourself some"Bestine" ( rubber cement thinner) and a Qtip try a corner.
This usually works, so does lighter fluid with a Qtip just be VERY careful!!!
Both of these are dangerous but either will usually work.
Don
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  #5  
Old 04-26-2007, 01:16 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

HI frineds i am veera form inda i ahve lot of doubt about retuoching lod images any help me how to woke that images


veera
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Old 04-26-2007, 01:42 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

here is a link of sds (http://www.sds-prepress.de/) what products i use to remove dust from slides, and somewhere there is an ultrasonic cleaner you can find a lot search by google here is one (http://www.hilsonic.co.uk/Benchtop%2...my%20Range.htm)

saby

Last edited by saby; 04-26-2007 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 07-20-2008, 12:52 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

here's one for removing mold: http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/pho...-solution.html
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:18 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Does anyone know of any info out there on photo working before the days Photoshop?
Like when people hand painted and used chemicals.

I’ve read bits and pieces here and there and it was really interesting. But I’ve gone through pages of google and can only find info of digital photo stuff.

I wanted to read some stories of old time photo colors, editors and stuff like that.
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:19 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

try adding 'conservator' or 'historical' or even 'old' to your keywords when searching.

also, check sites like the smithsonian or the national archives.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:15 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Quote:
Originally Posted by resto View Post
Does anyone know of any info out there on photo working before the days Photoshop?
Like when people hand painted and used chemicals.

I’ve read bits and pieces here and there and it was really interesting. But I’ve gone through pages of google and can only find info of digital photo stuff.

I wanted to read some stories of old time photo colors, editors and stuff like that.
Hi resto,
I'm new here but have been in photography since about 1958 (in Japan) where I learned how to roll my own film and develope and print my own photos, both b&w and color. The way we did it "back in the day" was we worked on the negative first, then sepia toned the photo and then used colored penciles to hand color & touch up the photos. We didn't get many really damaged photos back then because most people didn't want to pay the cost which was pretty heffty if you could find someone that was willing to try it.
The hardest part was getting the skin tones just right.

Hope that gives you a little idea of what it was like back then.
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:14 AM
ValerieWood ValerieWood is offline
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Photo Restoration is very useful now a days, several walk-in establishments in malls offer this service in order to restore weather-beaten photographs into the same condition it was first taken. With the help of technology, digital photo restoration is made possible and restoring old photos is far more convenient compared to its non-digital counterpart.
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  #12  
Old 04-05-2010, 02:08 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Hi Resto,

Before digital photogrpahy/editing I coloured photos for the studios I worked for and for myself. At one stage selective colouring was very popular, especially with children's portraiture. My research paper at Uni was even about hand colouring. Whilst researching, I had the chance to meet a few traditional colourists as well as contemporary (during the late 80s) artists who employed these techniques in their work.

It was a true craft and just like colouring digitally, took time, skill and talent to perfect. I mostly worked on fibre based papers which I printed then sepia toned. Sepia toning allowed for warmer tones when working with portraits. I mostly used oils (Marshall's oils were always the best in my opinion but difficult to get in Australia). The paint was applied roughly with cotton wool wound on to tiny tooth picks then clean cotton tips or balls used to blend the colour and reveal the underlying tones of the image. The more pressure you applied, the more paint you removed. Working with oils, which generally took a few days to dry made blending of colours easy. I may have used a combination of four or five skin tones when colouring a face. I use the same principles as I use today when digitally colouring an image. I start with a base colour then build up colours/tones. Eyelashes and fine details were sometimes accentuated with tiny brush tips and occassionally highlights were also added.

When hand colouring was the only option for adding colour to photos, most studios employed colourists whose sole role it was to colour portraits. Hair colour, eye colour clothing colour etc. were all recorded by the photographer at the time of shooting.

It really is a wonderful craft and I love looking at old photographs which I know have had this extra treatment lovingly applied.

In my restoration work I have come across many different methods of colouring, perhaps one of the most interesting was the creation of senotypes where two identical prints were made on a thin fibre based paper. The 'top' print had a wax or oil applied to it to make it semi transparent, then the colour was added to the back of the photograph. The two images were then sandwiched together and mounted beneath glass.

I still have my oils and pencils and also some coloured dyes which I used for some jobs. Hopefully, it is an art which will never completely die.


Quote:
Originally Posted by resto View Post
Does anyone know of any info out there on photo working before the days Photoshop?
Like when people hand painted and used chemicals.

I’ve read bits and pieces here and there and it was really interesting. But I’ve gone through pages of google and can only find info of digital photo stuff.

I wanted to read some stories of old time photo colors, editors and stuff like that.

Last edited by Carol Heath; 04-05-2010 at 02:14 AM.
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  #13  
Old 04-06-2010, 11:28 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

thanks, carol

if you'd care to expound on your techniques and any other tips for physical restoration and/or cleaning, i'd love to hear them.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:08 AM
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Hi Craig,

Spotting and colouring were about the extent of my restoration skills pre-digital. I was never a restorer, just manipulated photos for the studio I worked for and did minor restorations of my own family photos. For a long while I considered myself a black and white purist and wasn't ready to let go and join the digital bandwagon. I loved the darkroom and the skill involved in creating great prints and wasn't happy with early digital technology and non archival print mediums but now..well lets just say after playing with the new CS5 for the past couple of weeks, I can't imagine going back and doing things the 'hard' way.

Spotting was a technique that most photographers employed to remove dust spots (tiny white marks caused by dust on the negative). Of course, if you had a lovely clean, dust free darkroom and used wetting agents when processing film, these were minimal. Compressed air was generally used to remove dust from negs. I had a lecturer who also taught us that the oil from our brow could be used to remove water marks from negs. (not if you are wearing make-p though). You simply touched your brow then very gently rubbed the non-emulsion side of the neg. I know many will cringe when they read this but it worked and was much cheaper than cleaning agents.

Prints prepared for exhibition or for clients were always spotted using a very fine 000 fine sable brush and inks available in different tones for both black and white and colour images. Dust marks were removed by literally 'spotting' water based ink using the tip of the brush. To dilute the ink and match tones, I usually used saliva. Yes, I know that sounds disgusting, but sucking on the tip of the brush helped to dilute the ink and form a perfect tip for the brush. I usually found it best to gradually build up tones rather than trying to achieve perfect tones from scratch. Fine scratches and tears (on copy prints) could also be repaired using this technique. It was very slow work and hard on the eyes. An image that took hours to spot the traditional way would take minutes using Photoshop. It helped pay my way through Uni though. There were a lot of lazy students who were not too concerned with quality control in the darkroom.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:14 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

wonderful, carol. thank you i particularly like the brow and saliva techniques
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:04 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Hi Carol, I used the nose for scratch repairs. Rub a finger on the side of your nose, in the crease just behind your nostril. Rub this into the scratch on the negative and gently buff off with neg cloth. I have some great examples of this before and after in my old College portfolio. It was good for repairing the tramline scratches that were sometimes found running the length of strips of negatives where a neg squeegee scratched them when cleaning off the final wetting agent.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:15 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Great, cheap technique wasn't it? You have to wonder who first thought of using grease from our skin. Very effective though. Yes, it did work great for fine scratches as well.

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Hi Carol, I used the nose for scratch repairs. Rub a finger on the side of your nose, in the crease just behind your nostril. Rub this into the scratch on the negative and gently buff off with neg cloth. I have some great examples of this before and after in my old College portfolio. It was good for repairing the tramline scratches that were sometimes found running the length of strips of negatives where a neg squeegee scratched them when cleaning off the final wetting agent.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:18 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Hi Carol, I guess the idea of it was the fine oils deflect the and difuse the light just enough to blur over the scratches. An early dust and scratch filter! Not sure how it would effect the negative long term though?
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:55 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

I worked in a photo printers. We were the spotters and worked on negs and prints and even exhibition displays. Black scratches were removed on the negs using opaque(a sort of clay coloured paint).We had to fill in the scratches etc with small tipped brushes. Vignetting was often done by rubbing red dye into a negative in the right shape .
I have cut and pasted many a neg together to produce an all in one negative (composite) with both line and grey scale pictures. We used red litho tape to hold it all together .Ofcourse that was all on black and white negs and they were made specially to be worked on.
Masking on colour negs was done with silver tape and opaque as the red litho tape showed up in colour printing.
We also did colour spotting with inks and sometimes paints.
Large restoration of the prints was done by Ivy the air brush lady who was a terrible clutz in everyday life but did the most fantastic detailed retouching work with paint brush and basic inks.
We would bleach out items of the colour prints using pottasium metabisulphate,pottasium permanganate and dilute sulphuric acid. That would leave a white background on which to work.
Ball point pen was removable using methylated spirits and cotton wool.This was also often used by the mounting room men just to clean off dust and would sometimes unwaringly wipe off the retouching aswell .
Very stubborn Glues from tape etc were removed with tricloethylene which removed marker pen too.
The dark room often used silver cleaner to reduce silver on originals(the wadding stuff you get in a tin).
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:50 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

thank you, spotter! good stuff there. i especially liked the pen and marker pen solutions.

oh, and welcome to RP!
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:28 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Thanks Kraellin, Hubby worked in darkrooms producing dupes(duplicate trannys) and printing. He said the face grease thing was well known there but that vaseline was also used.
I forgot to mention knife work which was basically the use of a scalpel to scrape off the top layer on B&W photos to leave a layer to work on, that was possible with paper based prints but not with the newer plastic based papers. Some of the more modern colour transparencies also had a white layer which could be revealed with knife work.Those had an opalescent base layer and three colour layers above and were mostly used for massive transparensies for adverts and exhibitions.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:34 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

thanks, spotter
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:37 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

reading this I'm suddenly not feeling so old! They made us do our own spotting back in photography school...which was decades ago.

And they wouldn't let us use 35mm cameras -- just a fad -- LOL.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:34 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

I also used my nose :-) it works very well...As for the oily marks you can use bread (the soft interior of the bread, without any crust) that you roll into a ball and rub gently onto the stains...As I'm French we used sour dough bread, I don't know if it works with sweet bread like people have in here (UK). It acts like a sponge.
I have some links and hints from somewhere in another hard drive that I cannot reach at the moment... especially on ancient techniques that I used when I was younger. we used to make our own developers. At that time chemicals used to cost an arm and a leg, and making your own was a real issue. I'll provide that later, if it helps...

I recommend for French readers or it has been translated

Pierre Glafkides
http://openlibrary.org/works/OL12411...phic_chemistry

It's the best resource hence not young on photographic chemistry. (my opinion)
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:08 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

merci, 4personnen.

and yes, anything you have on this topic, do post it!
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:44 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

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Originally Posted by Kraellin View Post
merci, 4personnen.

and yes, anything you have on this topic, do post it!

the version I posted is the one translated in English, but there are "newer versions" from about the 80's. I was able to find one at my local uni library, hidden somewhere, you got to ask someone to dig it up :-). For the book is sold at nonsense prices on Abebooks, if anybody finds one at auctions or in an attic sale, worth to buy it if only for resale.

I'll keep in touch once I put my hand on this HDD.

Just remember one link
www.alternativephotography.com
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:17 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Hi I'm back with my hard drive and some bad news...most of the sites I've saved the links of are broken, most were in French but some in English...
Fortunately I've found that which seems to be a great recourse for alternative Process

http://decisivemomentum.blogspot.com/

Reminds me of that book by David Scopick I struggled for weeks to find (in these old days)

Like also this artist (livick)
an image there
http://www.livick.com/gallery/veil/tangle.jpg

the site here
http://www.livick.com/
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:59 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Hey everyone. So this is my first post (yay!!) but this is right up my alley.

I really liked reading about the hand-coloring techniques!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraellin View Post
what do you do to physically handle water damage; what do you do to physically handle stains, tears, folds, rips, wrinkles, mud, dirt and dust? how do you remove a photo that is stuck to glass or stuck in one of those 'magnetic' photo albums?
I work primarily digitally, but I've found that cleaning photos before scanning saves me a TON of Ps time. For emulsion-based prints, I use a Q-tip and distilled water to remove caked-on debris. For the antique type photos that are printed on thick paper or boards (the kind getting wet won't help at all) I've had some success picking debris off with a very sharp X-acto knife while looking under a magnifying glass.

It seems rather crude, but I've found that just taping rips and tears closed before scanning helps a lot. I always try to tape on the back of the photo with a thin document tape, though, just in case the owner wants to keep the original.

Any other wrinkles, creases, curls or warping, I like to flatten photos before scanning. I use a heat press, like the ones used for dry mounting.

For anything that's stuck, I usually try to soak free, unless the emulsion is too badly damaged and can't handle any more water. This doesn't always work- wet emulsion that dries adhered to something practically turns to cement. If I can't get it free, or it's too unstable to soak, sometimes I scan the picture through the glass or plastic. The resulting image is usually hazy and is never as sharp as the original, but it's a last resort. My customers are usually happy just to get something back when their options are a slightly blurry picture or nothing at all!

Hope that helps someone out there!
-KP
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:08 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

thanks, tservo, and welcome to RP
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:33 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

I have a number of photos my cousin sent me and she attached post-notes to the face of the photos (bless her heart) identifying who is who.

When I remove the post-note it leaves a residue on the photo. Can anyone suggest the best way to remove the residue?

Thanks
Jessie
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  #31  
Old 11-10-2011, 01:02 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

I have found the best solution to a sticky residue on pics & even some unidentifiable marks is eucalyptus oil applied gently with cotton wool, be careful not to rub very hard as you could remove the top layer of the photo. Leave the photo out for a few minutes to evaporate the last of the oil & if the eucalyptus oil doesn't work you can buy "Scotch 700 adhesive cleaner and solvent" also works beautifully.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:18 AM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

First rule prior to attempting any cleaning is to make the best copy you can. This is your fallback position should your cleaning attempts damage the photograph, which is highly likely depending on age and condition of the original if incorrect cleaning solutions used.

Personally I would not be too happy about using oils or solvents. While they could well remove the stain/residue there is a danger that the emulsion could be affected by their actions. This may not be immediately apparent but could result in emulsion breaking down or worse stains appearing over time. I have even used lemon/orange juice (from the fruit direct!) to remove glue stains, but only on something I was prepared to discard. Of course if you intend to discard the original and rely on the digital copy only then the worry of this occurring is less important.

One of the safer products designed specifically for photographic emulsion cleaning is PEC-12 INFO HERE. I would try this first in preference to other methods.

Last edited by Tony W; 11-10-2011 at 05:30 AM. Reason: adjusted URL
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  #33  
Old 11-12-2011, 10:09 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Not sure if this fits here, as it's not a way to fix a damaged image, but with images that have silvering, I use cross polarization (polarized filter on the lights and over the lens) when copying the photo - no digital retouching here. Here's a sample.
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File Type: jpg silvering.jpg (84.7 KB, 41 views)
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  #34  
Old 11-15-2011, 01:14 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

That is a very nice example csuebele. I have not used this technique since copying art work years ago. I had forgotten how effective it can be.

Although only small size here and difficult to judge the dark detail in the lower part of the image is fantastic
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Old 11-15-2011, 04:03 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

Thanks, Tony. The exposure can be increased to get the detail in the dark areas, providing it's there in the first place, but the cross polarizer pretty much eliminate the silvering problem. It also works very well with tintypes in reducing unwanted glare.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:55 PM
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

that's brilliant, csuebele. thanks for that one
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:57 PM
Gramurarts Gramurarts is offline
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

As there seems to be interest in the old ways of restoring photographs here is my experience.
I have been doing photo restorations for museums since the early 70's. In the early days the copy negative was the most important part of the restoration. We would make copies on either 4X5 or 8X10 negatives, depending on the size of the final print, or the value of the subject matter. There were many different films we could choose from and that would depend on the condition of the original print. Also the contrast was controlled through development. Shorter exposure times and longer development for more contrast. Filters on the lens were used to remove stains from the original. There would be an initial negative taken and if the photograph was in physically good condition the original would be rewashed to remove any dirt, then the work negative would be taken. It would be cleaned up with spotting dyes or etching out areas on the negative. After that a work print was made. It would go to the retouch artists who would mainly use dyes and spotting brushes to cleanup the image. Occasionally they would be airbrushed with dyes, to fill in areas that were missing. These were all of historical value and we would be responsible to just bring it back to as close as possible to the original. From a single glass plate we could make an 7' by usually 10' print Yes we also restored from many glass negatives, but that is another story. Hope you find that interesting.
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:46 AM
nancywilliams nancywilliams is offline
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

If condition of damaged photo is just like the surface may peel away and unable to clean , this happend if the pic was wet for a long time., so how to work on it.
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:20 AM
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Kraellin Kraellin is offline
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

thanks, gramurarts! very interesting info and welcome to RP! feel free to post any more data like that in here.
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Old 02-07-2015, 07:23 AM
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JoReam JoReam is offline
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

I have really enjoyed reading about how photos used to be restored pre photoshop. Has anyone had any experience with a Grumbacker Gamma Retouch kit? I have recently been given a second hand kit......quite and appropriate present for a photo restorer!!
I believe these kits may have had some supporting booklets with them as I saw one for sale on ebay with these booklets.....mine has lost its booklets, print cleaner,brush and white paint. Mine was obviously used on sepia and black and white photos - and is water based as opposed to oil based. Seeing the size of the brushes from photos of these kits I have found on the net makes me appreciate the skill and steady hand that must have been required to paint out photographic imperfections .I would just like to know a little more about whether these paints were just used for photos or whether they were used on negatives as well.
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