110 Negative salvage

Sedimentary-like agglomeration of films, glued in place by a probably sugary liquid. Copyright © 2018 Wayne and Elizabeth Saewyc

Not all the film negatives I have to work with are in even reasonable condition. Quite a number of them require physical interventions before I can make them ready to be scanned. Others require considerable digital manipulation to get anything useable from the scan. Some require both.

Copyright © Wayne and Elizabeth Saewyc

This particular ‘layer’ of 110 film[en.WP] glows with a radioactive-cherry color, suggesting to me cough medicine. Carefully removing the celluloid films from the cases depends on the sugary glue fracturing off the plastic, which it mostly does easily.

Strips removed from sleeves. Copyright © 2018 Wayne and Elizabeth Saewyc

Unfortunately, before it dried the liquid did physically alter the film, both chemically erasing some parts of the images and altering the flat form to introduce bubble and ripples.

Original, unretouched (or cleaned.) Copyright © Maynard and Betty Ranum

I do not have a dry wash for film, which use a range of non-water solutions to remove crud which might be found on film. So I am scanning the strips in their cruddy state, then doing an extremely brief and light water rinse, shaking them dry and wiping lightly with a microfibre lens cloth. Then I rescan.

Filtered but still dirty. Copyright © Maynard and Betty Ranum

Either due time or the liquid everything was bathed in, the colour negatives come out of the digital scanning process extremely green. Plus all the surface noise from scratches and crud, etc. Some of this is simply fading, and can be partially accounted for in the colour curves used to process. Filtering can help minimize these effects too, but it only goes so far.

But the effort can salvage images which, while not historically important to others, might be important to us personally. This photo of the White House was taken during the family trip out east for the oldest sibling’s wedding. And here are the images salvaged from the first strip of negatives: