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The ultimate in photo restoration: X rays!

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  • The ultimate in photo restoration: X rays!

    X-ray beam illuminates long-forgotten faces on damaged daguerreotypes

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  • #2
    Wow that's incredible and what a discovery! I think it also shows just how clear original images were.


    • #3
      Totally agree, I would love to see / read more discoveries, what treasures!


      • #4
        True, it was a quality process (or at least the cameras were top notch). Here is an example from my family's collection (detail crop). The emulsion is worn but check out the detail that remains.

        BTW, do these guys look Irish or Italian to you? That would help me determine which branch of the family they are from!



        • #5
          What an amazing photo. I presume there is no information on the back of this photo that would give you a clue where it was taken - or were these guys migrants and it was taken after the immigrated i.e. photographers marks etc. I assume this is not its original colour? I did a bit of googling on 19th century Irish and Italian photographers and there are lists of these which if you had a mark might be useful or was this photo taken somewhere else like Britain? If it was British this might be of interest -
          The only reason I cite it is the article talks about groups of Italian musicians, but then they could equally be a group of Irish immigrants too.... which isn't much help to you. They all look dressed up to me which made me think performers but then people used to dress up to have their photograph taken.
          The only other clue might be to identify the photographic process and that might give you a timeframe which you could use to deduce which side of the family it was on - was the original by any chance a purplish reddish brown with fairly high gloss? Or was it matt and more black brown neutral tones? Is there any signs of yellowing? What was its size? Is there any silver mirroring? The fact the emulsion layer is cracked suggests to me that it might be more glossy than matt ...


          • #6
            Thanks for your feedback! Here is a reduced-res copy of the scan as it was presented to me.

            It came from the collection of my Irish grandfather's brother, who married a half-Italian woman back in the '40s. I don't know if it's from our Irish family or his wife's Irish or Italian family. I haven't seen the original, but I understand there is no further info.



            • #7
              Here's another mystery tintype from the same batch.



              • #8
                I don't know if this helps but from what I have read tintypes were used from 1856 to 1880s in USA and later until the 1920s in street photography.... don't know if those dates really help you though as they are quite a wide timeframe and looking at the ladies dresses in the second image they look circa 1890s to early 1900s. Tintypes are amazing in that they are positives so the black you see is from the backing. I have some tiny ones in an old Victorian scrap book, they are not on tin but a sort of thin malleable material, but I recently scanned a tintype from a client and it was on tin, with a black backing. It has some damage to it but the blacks have really lasted. If you have any relatives using you might be able to post it there - never know someone - might be able to help


                • #9
                  Thanks JoReam!


                  • #10
                    Wow, that is amazing collection!


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