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  • Truth in advertising

    I'd like some opinions on a somewhat unique situation. I was given a picture that had been torn up years ago, taped back together and laminated. It appears that the picture was also laminated before it was taped back together, but I'm not sure if it was laminated before it was torn up. Anyway, when I received the photo, the outer lamination layer had been removed as well as some of the tape, but there was pleny of yellow tape and "goo" left to obscure the photo. The owner of the photo said that since the photo wasn't any good to her as it was, it was OK if I wanted to try to clean-up the photo some (understanding that it might destroy the photo) before starting the digital restoration.

    So, I scanned the photo as it was given to me, then carefully removed all of the tape that I was able to with my fingernails and scanned it again. By now, the only thing holding all of the pieces togeth was the solid lamination on the back. The lamination on the front was cracked through and the photo itself was stuck to the front lamination (and in pieces too). I wanted to remove as much of the tape residue as possible, so I used the very potent "un-du" adhesive remover and because of the lamination, I was able to scrape the old, hardened residue with a letter opener. Yes, I was afraid of what the un-du would do to the lamination and yes I was afraid of scratching the lamination with the letter opener and just making things worse. Luckily, neither of those happened and I was able to remove about 90% of the residue. That gave me a much easier place to start with the digital work.

    So, now my question... I want to use this restoration as an example of my work, but what do I use for the "before" version in a before/after comparison? The scan I made with the tape attached is how the photo was brought to me and what the client remembers. However, I'm worried about false advertising if I use that version, because I'm not sure that I could have gotten the final result that I did if I'd had to start with that scan. Once I get my website up and running, I can put all three versions up and explain what I did. But, I don't really have room for all three on a brochure. The fact is, if the photo wasn't laminated, I could not have cleaned it up like I did. (Plus, there's a good possibility that a client wouldn't agree to the possibility of destroying the photo.)

    I've attached a file that shows all three versions: with tape, after removing all of the adhesive and (almost) final version. Thoughts, anyone?

    Thanks, Jeanie
    Attached Files

  • #2
    First off, Wonderful job of restoration! I would suggest using all three and label the original "Original condition", the second" Initial clean-up and the third "finished". It is such a good job that omitting one of the examples would do you and your skills a great dis service--Find the Room in you Ad. brochure!!As each job is unique and presents challenges special to it, I dont see any "false advertising" problems here. The current thought among photo conservators is to avoid doing much of anything to the actual photo itsself, but there are exceptions and you have done a most wonderful job. What was the chemical you used to remove the "gunk" and did you use it full strength or dilute? What did you use to apply it with ? Did you use anything to remove the chemical residue after cleaning and how did it affect the photo surface ( any noticable fading, softening or "stickiness" of the print surface?). Sorry for all the questions but I am facinated by the technique you used as that sort of work takes a steady hand and nerves of steel. If you wouldnt mind, I would love to read a more detailed account of the process as it could be of great help and value to all here if confronted by a photo in similar condition. Thanks , Tom

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    • #3
      Jeanie,

      I fully agree with Tom. Excellent job! The suggestion to make all three samples available for viewing is a good one in my opinion. In traditional restorations there is often a need to do some mechanical cleaning, and I don't see any untruth in advertising unless you *specifically* stated that everything was done digitally. Nothing wrong with doing what needs to be done by conventional means. This would be a good sample of your work, and I don't think you have a thing to worry about.

      Ed

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      • #4
        I agree with Tom and Ed. Your saved a lasting memory for your client. It would be in your best interest to show all 3 images. That took a lot of work and skill. Let people know.

        Bob

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        • #5
          Thanks guys. Looks like I'll have to "find room" in my brochure for all three versions.

          Tom, to remove the left over tape adhesive, I used a product called "un-du". I used it full strength by putting a few drops on a cotton swab and using that to apply it to the photo in small areas at a time. Remember that I wasn't applying it directly to the photo itself - I was actually working on the plastic lamination. I was concerned that the un-du would make the plastic cloudy, and it did very slightly, but the scanner didn't seem to notice that too much. I had to apply the un-du multiple times to the same area to remove some of the hardened adhesive. It loosened it some, but I then I had to use a letter opener to literally scrape it off. (The cotton swab wasn't enough to remove the hardened stuff. I would compare it to a dentist removing plaque from your teeth.)

          I was initially concerned that if the un-du spilled between the cracks in the laminate that it would ruin the photo paper underneath. However, that did not happen. In fact, one of the reasons I had to apply it so many times is that it evaporates very quickly. Thus, I didn't have anything to remove when I was done. It says on the bottle that it can be used on paper, so I wonder what affect it would have directly on a photo. I'll try it on one of my own and see what it does to the photo finish. Even if it doesn't harm the photo finish though, I'm not sure I could have gotten the same results I did with the laminate because I'm afraid that scraping any hardened bits of adhesive would damage the photo surface. I don't know that I have any photos with adhesive to try this on, so I won't be able to report on that.

          In any case, this "un-du" product is potent stuff. I had two doors open for cross-ventilation plus a fan blowing directly on me. It says, "Caution: Do not inhale." Yeah, right. Am I supposed to hold my breath for half an hour? I'm not sure what it's made out of, but I think it's petroleum based.

          Hope this helps explain a little more about what I used and did. I'll report back after I've tested it applied directly to the face of a photo.

          Jeanie

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          • #6
            I'm a *little* familiar with un-do. I think it was originally made for taking off the stickers some stores put on their products (such as dishes, glasses etc.). It works pretty well for that purpose, but like Jeanie, I would be a little reluctant to use it straight on a photo. I would be more inclined to use Isopropyl (sp.?) alcohol as a first try.

            Ed

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            • #7
              I think I would avoid getting it on the actual photo surface-I was wondering what the effects of it were and it sounds like quick death for the photo layer but appears to have potential for getting rid of tape, etc. By the way, did the cloudiness of the remaining laminate layer increase over time or seem to stay at a stable level? Tom

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              • #8
                jeanie, you did a beautiful job.

                has your client seen it yet? That has to be one of the tiniest waists i ever saw, people don't often come in that size

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow excellent work!!!

                  Jeanie,
                  I'm thinking that client was very lucky they came to you for that restoration. Excellent work cleaning up the gooey mess and cleaning up the image.
                  I also agree with Tom and Ed about using the 3 photos. It shows your entire task from the original condition of the photo, to your creative clean up and the final digital clean up work. They all represent what you had to go through to get to the final state.
                  DJ

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                  • #10
                    Well, I did try the un-du on one of my childhood photos. The photo has a textured surface and isn't really that old - the date on the photo says 1974. Anyway, the un-du didn't seem to affect the photo finish at all - and I really rubbed on it with a cotton swab to see if it would damage the photo. I can see NO damage to the photo as a result. I did not scrape the photo with anything sharp and I don't think I'd want to. I do think that would damage the photo since the paper does seem to soften a little bit while the un-du is on there. Once it all evaporated however, I can't see any difference.

                    That being said, I don't think I would try this directly on a client's photo. There are so many different types of processing and there's a good chance this stuff would ruin an older photo that used different chemicals in the processing.

                    Tom, the slight cloudiness on the lamination actually seemed to improve as the un-du completely evaporated. It definitely did not get worse.

                    Kathleen and DJ, thanks for the encouragement. My "client" has not seen it yet. I put "client" in quotes because she is actually my sister's mother-in-law. (The photo is of her mother and it's the only one she has of her mother at that age.) She gave it to my sister wondering if I could do anything with it and my first response was that it would take a miracle! So, she doesn't even know that I've worked on it yet. We are planning on getting it framed and giving it to her for a Christmas present. The original photo is only 2x3", but I'm able to enlarge it to 5x7" and it still looks quite good. I only wish I could be there to watch her open it!

                    Jeanie

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                    • #11
                      If you wouldnt mind, could you keep an eye on the photo you tested the chemical on for a week or so and then report back as to the condition-such as fading, cracking, continued softness of the paper and anything else you notice? Thanks much---Tom

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                      • #12
                        If the photo was from 1974 it could be a resin-coated paper. The RC paper doesn't absorb fluids as easily as non-RC papers, so you might not be that lucky with an older photo.

                        Ed

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                        • #13
                          Tom, I'll definitely keep an eye on the photo. If I don't report back in a week (and if you remember), remind me.

                          Ed, it does seem that there's some sort of coating on the photo paper. Perhaps that's why I felt OK trying it (plus the fact that the photo I tried it on didn't mean much to me.) To tell you the truth, I just can't stand the thought of using it on any of my grandparents' photos.

                          Jeanie

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                          • #14
                            For your ad...

                            If you still do not have room for all 3 photos in your ad, you could state under the before picture that "This is the image AFTER the tape residue was removed from the original" You could also state that removal of the tape and it's residue was done BEFORE you accepted the job of restoration.

                            HTH

                            Paul R.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Paul, I was able to get all three photos in the ad (as you saw in the Business Challenge), but your idea might come in handy in the future. I'll keep it in mind. Thanks.

                              Tom, You forgot to remind me! I just looked at the photo again and both the photo and the plastic lamination appear to be in the same condition as they were right after I applied the un-du (almost a month ago.)

                              Jeanie

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