[Table of Contents] [Search]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [BKARTS] Water soaked photographs katrina rita wilma

Bruce's advice about washing silver (i.e., black & white) photos is fine
for prints which have not been laying around wet for a month in a warm

A basic photo consists of three layers: emulsion, barytes layer, paper.

The barytes layer is there to provide a smooth surface on the paper so
that the emulsion is as smooth as possible.

When mold occurs on a photo it happens this way.

A 'tendril' extends down through the emulsion and begins to spread out
on the barytes layer.  At this point the infection is invisible, or
may sometimes be seen in raking light as a dull spot on the surface
of the print.

During this time the mold is separating some of the emulsion from the
barytes layer.

If there is moisture enough for long enough the mold begins growing
toward the surface and colonies of mold become visible.

If the print is washed at this time the print will swell up and some
water will get down to the barytes layer allowing the emulsion to
swell more than the barytes/paper.

And then 'plugs' of emulsion will begin to float away in the bath.

The safest thing to do (for the print and operator/conservator) at this
point is scan the print at 300 dpi for later re-printing.

Scan everything in color mode, including b&w photos.  Later, the b&w
images should be reduced to grayscale to reduce the file size.

Scanning them in color mode will allow the light/dark values of the
image to be adjusted before printing.

If I were handling a package of these photos I would probably try a
quick rinse of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to remove surface mold
before placing the print in a Mylar envelope for scanning.

If the prints were hand colored, or spotted that is probably already
gone, unless the hand coloring was done with oil paints.

Good luck,


James Pepper <Biblescribe@xxxxxxx> writes:

>Ok we have a lot of people who come into the shelters and they have been
>talking about their ruined photgraphs and I have scanned a few for some
>using an office copier   So what can be done generally to preserve  this
> lots of people take them to photocopy them as they dont have  the money or
>the time to do this. If I can get a hold of them I scan them  with a scanner
>and do it right.  But what would you suggest for people to  restore what they
>have and how to preserve them.  This is a huge problem  there are people all
>over the place who are in this mess.  Basically they  are water logged.  most
>people put them into boxes and not move them as  when they are wet it will
> What can they do?

Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, Oregon  97217

503/735-3942 (phone)
503/289-8723 (fax)


"The lyfe so short; the craft so long to lerne."
Chaucer  _Parlement of Foules_ 1386

Now Online - The Bonefolder, Vol. 2, No. 1 at <http://www.philobiblon.com/bonefolder>
             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
          See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents] [Search]