Cleaning vintage negatives : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I have about 1500 negatives that my Grandfather took in China between 1913 and 1952 (he was a missionary). Many of the negs are dirty and scratched, some are stained from the negative books they were stored in. I want to clean and print them, but am concerned about the stability of the negs (emulsion separating, etc.) I have scanned most of the best negs, and am now ready to begin printing. Any ideas about how I should go about cleaning/preserving the negs? Also, I am looking for funding for a possible exhibit/book. Any ideas about sources?

-- Bill Morse (, June 27, 1998


Bill, I'd go for stabilising the negs to prevent further deterioration rather than attempting to clean them. I have some negs belonging to my grandparents, oddly enough shot in China as well, and they're unevenly processed with some fixer staining evident, grubby and brittle [rather as one would expect after surviving a world war and a communist revolution.] I have re-filed them in archival-quality sleeves [Printfile aor any other archival brand] and stored them in a dust-free dark place with silica gel to absorb excess humidity. You've scanned the negs, so retouching the images digitally will give you the best results. You can always make copy negs from the retouched files using a film recorder if you want conventional B/W prints. Conservators spend a lot of time undoing other people's attempts to fix things up, so I 'd suggest intervening as little as possible.

-- rebecca (,.au), March 10, 2002.

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