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OPR Virtual Offices => Office of Hannie, Tess, Jonas & Bambi => Topic started by: Hannie on May 06, 2010, 01:35:01 AM

Title: Tips for Salvaging Flood & Water Damaged Photos
Post by: Hannie on May 06, 2010, 01:35:01 AM
1.Carefully lift the photos from the mud and dirty water. Remove photos from waterlogged albums and separate any that are stacked together, being careful not to rub or touch the wet emulsion of the photo surface.  
Remove photos from plastic sleeves than you see see in albums right away if possible.

2.If you have time and space right away, lay each wet photo face up on any clean blotting paper, such as a paper towel. Don't use newspapers or printed paper towels, as the ink may transfer to your wet photos. Change the blotting paper every hour or two until the photos dry. Try to dry the photos inside if possible, as sun and wind will cause photos to curl more quickly.

3.  After the photo is dried you can remove mud/dirt by gently rinse both sides of the photo in a bucket or sink of clear, cold water. Don't rub the photos and be sure to change the water frequently.

4.If you don't have time right away to dry your damaged photos, just rinse them to remove any mud and debris. Carefully stack the wet photos between sheets of wax paper and seal them in a Ziploc type plastic bag. If possible, freeze the photos to inhibit damage. This way photos can be defrosted, separated and air-dried later when you have the time to do it properly.
More Tips for Handling Water Damaged Photographs

- Try to get to flood-damaged photos within two days or they will begin to mold or stick together, making saving them much more unlikely.

- Begin with photographs for which there are no negatives, or for which the negatives are also water damaged.

- Photos in frames need to be saved when they are still soaking wet, otherwise the photo surface will stick to the glass as it dries and you will not be able to separate them without damaging the photo emulsion. To remove a wet photo from a picture frame, keep the glass and photo together. Holding both, rinse with clear flowing water, using the water stream to gently separate the photo from the glass.

It is important to note that some historical photographs are very sensitive to water damage and may not be recoverable. Older photographs should also not be frozen without first consulting a professional conservator. You may also want to send any damaged heirloom photos to a professional photo restorer after drying.
Title: Re: Tips for Salvaging Flood & Water Damaged Photos
Post by: Mhayes on May 06, 2010, 10:20:39 AM

Thanks for posting this information. There is one area that is a little tricky and that is #2. When we were in Cedar Rapids a photo that had enough gunk on it to make taking a picture of it hopeless; Dave and Pete took it back to a sink with water and let it soak. Much to their dismay, the ink started to lift and float away. Maybe this was the exception and we have done this technique before and no problem. The conclusion was that had the photo been dry rather than still damp, we could have done this with no problem.

Thanks again!


Title: Re: Tips for Salvaging Flood & Water Damaged Photos
Post by: Hannie on May 07, 2010, 02:04:55 AM
Great tip on cleaning these photos Margie, I adjusted tip #2, thanks!

Title: Re: Tips for Salvaging Flood & Water Damaged Photos
Post by: Tori803 on May 07, 2010, 11:20:15 AM
Just to keep the information in the same thread, I'm repeating the links I found to video tutorials on salvaging flood damaged photos:
For water damage:
http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/WaterSegmentFG.HTM (http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/WaterSegmentFG.HTM)
For soot cleanup:
http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/TFsoot.HTM (http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/TFsoot.HTM)
For more information from the Heritage Emergency National Task Force:
http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/TFPublic.html (http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/TFPublic.html)

Title: Re: Tips for Salvaging Flood & Water Damaged Photos
Post by: Hannie on May 08, 2010, 03:35:58 PM
Thanks Tori!