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Thread: Rescue water-damaged negatives?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Rescue water-damaged negatives?

    A friend and fellow artist (Susan Morrison of Eureka Springs, Arkansas) sent me the following note and I wanted to see if anyone here could suggest a resource for her to check with about her damaged color negatives - they are all copy negs of her original artwork:

    <<Recently I went to move my negatives I had "safely" stored away in a safety deposit box and found that due to a leaky air conditioner they had been water damaged.

    They are now stuck together and some have liquid floating between them, the ones in sleeves are stuck to the sleeves.

    I need to find someone who can tell me if a. they can actually be restored and b. how much it would cost.>>

    Anyone have an idea of who she might contact? I didn't come up with much using Google. Thanks a bunch for any help...

    Tim Ernst in Arkansas

  2. #2

    Re: Rescue water-damaged negatives?

    hmmm, let's give this a try. Sight unseen, so theory only. Understand?

    if the negatives are wet, or stuck... DO NOT DRY. DO NOT PULL APART...

    immerse the 'block' into water.... they will come apart in the rinse water as they soak... the emulsion will swell, then the negs will come apart.
    The soaking water could be the "final rinse" step in a color film kit.

    they would then have to be washed, then a "final rinse" step performed, followed by drying in dust free... etc, standard film drying procedure.

    Pulling these things apart, may tear emulsion off, or even "oyster shell" the film...

    who would do this for you? no idea
    how much would it cost? even less of an idea.

    although, there is always ctein --- one serious film techie... hold on while google finds him...
    and here it is:


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Re: Rescue water-damaged negatives?

    Thanks Richard, I will pass that info onto the artist. I'm sure she is looking for someplace to send her negs to and would not be able to do any of that herself, although maybe she could just soak some of them in distilled water until they came free and then hang them to dry and see how that worked...

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