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Removing a Pattern

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Old 01-16-2010, 01:31 AM
topaz topaz is offline
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Removing a Pattern

I have cleaned and repaired old papers and documents (cloth erasers are great for cleaning them while treating them gently and avoiding damaging ink, and I'm sure we all know about storing them in acid free boxes and keeping them away from light) but not photos. I have 3 oversize signed and numbered baseball photos a friend gave me to sell for him. 2 were stored incorrectly, in a mylar bag, and have the mylar pattern in some places (fortunately not near the signatures), and worse, one has something spilled on it, whether food, drink or what, I've no idea. please tell me how to clean these without ruining the signature and limited number, which I suspect are very sensitive to any changes. I asked our in-town historical society and they had no answers, and I was directed to them by my in-town professional photography shop, who also had no answers.
thank you for your help.
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Old 01-16-2010, 07:13 PM
topaz topaz is offline
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Re: Physical (not digital) Solutions to Restoring

thought I'd receive a quick reply for my first post, it should be one a lot of people here would know the answer for-if there are archivists in the group, or non-archivist individuals who have had to recover one of a kind or specialty photos. I can hope. I classify myself as a novice archivist, and I do know enough to ask rather than just try something that might make things worse. I hope someone's willing to help me and in the process, help others.

meanwhile, I have another photo question. I have an early sepia tone photo my great grandfather took. it is on very thin paper, and is beginning to fade. is there a safe way to strengthen the colors and bring the picture back to life? I don't want to make a copy of it and touch it up, I want to safely darken it-I know mineral oil wouldn't harm it, technically, and would darken it, but that isn't the correct way to improve a photo.
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:17 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Removing a Pattern

you put these posts in the wrong place which is probably why you havent gotten any responses yet. i've moved it to here where it shld get more attention. please be careful where you post your messages.

and welcome to RP.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:05 PM
topaz topaz is offline
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Re: Removing a Pattern

thank you for the welcome and for moving my query to the correct thread. I did think I had it in the right place as the queries are about repairing the orginals, not digitally restoring copies of them, but I'm fairly new to photography and trust other's judgement better than my own in this matter.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:31 AM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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Re: Removing a Pattern

You might want to call some of your near by museums and get referrals to Conservators in your area. A Conservator is the profession you are looking for - they are the chemistry and restoration experts for working on originals. They are in the business of doing this kind of thing so they may be more in the mindset of providing the service than sharing info, but they the best route to the best info. Some conservators specialize in one area only, such as restoring paintings - so you may end up being referred to a conservator that works on photos.

Best of luck!
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:13 AM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Removing a Pattern


With regard to the baseball photos, much will depend on the type of photograph. Since you did not state their age or type of photograph, we cannot tell you anything definitive. However, it is always best to do as Roger_ele suggests, find a local conservator and have them actually inspect the photos. They can test some inconspicuous areas to be sure any suggested methods are in fact safe.

The same goes for the sepia photograph. In fact, more so since you mentioned it was taken by your great grandfather. Older prints can fall into one of a several dozen categories, related to their substrate and coating. Applying the wrong substance to their coating can quickly result in ruining it. Your local conservator can at least let you know which substances not to use based upon an approximate age and typical coatings of that era. Then you can experiment with some of the safer methods on your own.

You did not say if you are in the US. But, in case you are, here is the link for the AIC (American Institute for Conservation) "Find A Conservator" web page. AIC Find A Conservator
It is a good starting point. Another simple way of finding one is to look in the yellow pages.
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