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Blue dot stains/streaks

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  #1  
Old 09-05-2011, 11:52 PM
Baldy Baldy is offline
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Blue dot stains/streaks

Greetings all. My first post and visit here and I like what I see. I've been restoring over 2,000 family photos for the past several years now using Photoshop CS5 currently.

I've looked over previous threads to make sure this wasn't already asked and answered. I saw some attachments showing a similar problem but here is my main question.

Just what is the cause of these blue or bluish-green dots that appear all over the image? In most cases, it almost looks like an ink smear but this is so common on many of my photos, I can only assume that it must have something to do with the cyan dye being the first to go and somehow gets smeared around from movement inside the proverbial shoebox of photos.

It seems only a painstaking effort with the Healing and Clone brush is the fix but I'm curious about the cause. I could literally attach hundreds of examples.

Any ideas or is a sample image necessary?
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:20 AM
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Tony W Tony W is online now
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Re: Blue dot stains/streaks

High Baldy, welcome to RetouchPro.

An example or 2 stating age and storage conditions would be helpful. While natural uneven fading of dyes could be the culprit the description seems to fit more of a physical problem either in storage or prior to that poor processing.
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:28 PM
Baldy Baldy is offline
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Re: Blue dot stains/streaks

Most of the problem photos are from the 70s and 80s. And that was the era was Fuji papers started pushing Kodak papers off the market thus my belief in that it has more to do with the dyes than improper handling or storage. But in that regard, most of the photos were NOT stored properly. These are most family snap-shots that always end up in a shoe box.You'd think that being away from all light would prevent fading but all of these have faded horribly. Thankfully, Photoshop and Levels can restore the colors.

I though this might have been a common problem with 30-40 year old color prints. Maybe not. Here are some links to typical problems:

http://www.the-lightfoots.com/1.jpg
http://www.the-lightfoots.com/2.jpg
http://www.the-lightfoots.com/3.jpg

Let me know what you think is the culprit.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:55 PM
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John Wheeler John Wheeler is offline
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Re: Blue dot stains/streaks

Hi Baldy

I can't tell you for sure what they are yet I have had some images with similar issues.

#1 - looks like mold (and they come in all colors). Not sure why, yet mine seems to start in the depressions of the matte.
#2 - looks like the stamp from the back of another image that apparently was not permanent and humidity sensitive (I can almost make out the flower of the stamp which I have seen on my prints)
#3 I suspect the same thing as #2 only because of it looks like lines of info that rubbed off the back of one photo to the face of another.

Just my best guess.
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Old 09-07-2011, 05:07 AM
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Re: Blue dot stains/streaks

I think, like John that the first one in particular looks like mold of which I understand there are 100,000 differenct species, 150 of which are household types. Spores are found everywhere but generally grow in a damp environment - a shoebox in a warm and slightly humid environment is ideal . Once mold take a hold most appear filamentuous or snowflake like - if you can get a good close up does this appear to be the case in the first image?

2&3 Does the back of the prints have a stamp as again agree with John that it does look like ink stain or possibly physical abrasion that has allowed something to penetrate?

Unfortunately being away from the light is no guarantee that prints will not fade. At even normal room temperature 'dark fading' can occur. Printing paper of the 70's seems to be even more prone to fading than some earlier print materials

In any event I am doubtful that what you are observing is anything to do with dyes breaking down as I would expect to see a more general spread of light and dark areas with much softer edges and certainly not the heavy density of the 'stains' in your examples.
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