Restore old B&W pictures

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by jobarry, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. jobarry

    jobarry TPF Noob!

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    Many of my old pictures have curled up from basement dampness and poor storage. Attempts to flatten them result in cracking of the surface. Do I have some optional remedies available to me?
     
  2. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Get a good scan of them and you can probably fix up most of the damage digitally in photoshop.
     
  3. jobarry

    jobarry TPF Noob!

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    Great advice but are you saying that the cracks which occur when straightening the pictures can be filled in using Photoshop? I have avoided getting Photoshop because it seemed pricey. Are there less expensive apps that would do the same job? Thanks for the almost immediate response!!!
     
  4. BuS_RiDeR

    BuS_RiDeR No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You can use GIMP. it is a free photo editing software that has much of the same functionality that Photoshop offers.
     
  5. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Anything you do to try and help avoiding the cracks is somewhat risky.

    That said, soaking the prints in room temperature water and redrying them might work. Before doing this you need to know exactly what type of print you are working with and whether its been retouched or written on.

    There are two types of "paper" support. Classic prints are on "fiber base" paper. This is a pure paper base that supports the various layers that hold the image. "Modern" prints are more often on "RC" or "Resin Coated" paper. This base has a plastic coating. RC papers became common in the '70s.

    If you are dealing with fiber based prints that have not been retouched and have no writing in ink on either the front or back you will likely be successful in rewashing them in plain room temperature water for about 5 minutes and drying them. You need to handle the wet prints very carefully as the image layer will be very very very soft and easily damaged and any stress on the paper will make drying them flat difficult to impossible. You also need to keep them flat while drying. I suggest that you read a book on darkroom techniques with an eye to the washing and drying methods mentioned before attempting this. Also, if the prints are color prints they will likely turn very blue/violet while wet. This is normal and they will return to normal color when dry.
     

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