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Re:Daguerrotypes

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  • Historic Photo Archive
    The restoration of daguerreoptypes that have faded is best done by copying. This is difficult since you are in fact photographing a mirror. It is done with a
    Message 1 of 5 , May 13, 2005
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      The restoration of daguerreoptypes that have faded is best done by copying.
      This is difficult since you are in fact photographing a mirror. It is done
      with a view camera, where the front standard can rise, so the camera can
      look at the dag without reflecting itself. You build a black tent around
      the lens and dag, and light from the sides, and shoot with cross-polarized
      light. The resulting 4x5 transparency is scanned and the restoration done
      in photoshop.

      For many years, recommendations were published about a wet treatment for
      cleaning daguerreotypes using thiourea, commonly marketed as Tarn-X and
      similar products. This has have been found to be very harmful to the image
      over time and is no longer recommended.

      A book was published by Smithsonian conservators that is the best source of
      information about dag conservation, it is called "The Daguerreotype:
      Nineteenth Century Technology and Modern Science" by M. Susan Barger and
      William B. White, perhaps your local library has or can get you this book.

      In short, make no attempt to open the dag and do anything without some study
      and practice. Do not use a tissue, brush, or anything to clean the surface
      because it will scratch the image permanently. Do not use compressed air to
      blow the dust off it, the air will blow the image right off it. A
      daguerreotype is extremely fragile.

      I can recommend a professional photo conservator if you need, he is the
      curator of photography at the art museum here. there is an email group of
      professional photo conservation technicians that you can check out, it is
      photoconservation@yahoogroups

      As to the print blocks, they are very sturdy and you don't have to worry
      about the ink damaging them. Take them to an old-time printer who uses
      letterpress. They can print them. You scan the print they make. Since
      they are half-tone, there will be a moire pattern in your scan. Don't use
      the "descreen" option in the scanner driver if you have Photoshop. Scan it
      straight and then get rid of the moire by opening the image in PS and using
      Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur. You can see exactly how much to use for your
      particular image. Usually it is about 1.6 to 2.

      Good luck

      --
      Thomas Robinson
      http://www.historicphotoarchive.com
    • Paul Reiser (Contractor)
      Yes, I agree - you would be surprised at how much can be recovered from a seemingly useless dguerrotype using a good scanner and photoshop. Paul R.
      Message 2 of 5 , May 15, 2005
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        Yes, I agree - you would be surprised at how much can be recovered from a
        seemingly useless dguerrotype using a good scanner and photoshop.

        Paul R.

        >
        >It is possible to restore these images using Adobe Photoshop. The degree
        >of success would depend on how badly the original was degraded.
        >Best regards (again)
        >John J.
        >
        >Dol Sol wrote:
        >
        >>Is there any hope for daguerrotypes that are either faded or somehow turned
        >>black? Does certain equipment bring out hidden images, or can I try to
        >>clean them? Yes, I realize I'm probably dreaming.
      • Historic Photo Archive
        If you are going to scan the dag and have photoshop full version (rather than elements) you would do well to scan at 16 bit, since the contrast range is so
        Message 3 of 5 , May 17, 2005
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          If you are going to scan the dag and have photoshop full version (rather
          than elements) you would do well to scan at 16 bit, since the contrast range
          is so short, you will avoid banding if your scanner driver can deliver 16
          bit to PS and then set the levels. To set levels in photoshop (after vers
          6) hold down the two keys to the left of the space bar while you move the
          cursor to the high and low points. The screen will be blank until you clip
          and then the screen will show only the clipping. This is the best way I
          know to scan a short-scale image without clipping and banding.

          --
          Thomas Robinson
          http://www.historicphotoarchive.com

          > Yes, I agree - you would be surprised at how much can be recovered from a
          > seemingly useless dguerrotype using a good scanner and photoshop.
          >
          > Paul R.
          >
          >>
          >> It is possible to restore these images using Adobe Photoshop. The degree
          >> of success would depend on how badly the original was degraded.
          >> Best regards (again)
          >> John J.
          >>
          >> Dol Sol wrote:
          >>
          >>> Is there any hope for daguerrotypes that are either faded or somehow turned
          >>> black? Does certain equipment bring out hidden images, or can I try to
          >>> clean them? Yes, I realize I'm probably dreaming.
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