Subject: Re: Photo restoration - how to deal with silvery sheen in parts of image?
> Some 80 year old photos in my possession have an odd haze or sheen
> over some areas, mostly within a couple centimeters of the edge. The
> areas mostly affected are dark. Thus the shadow detail is obscured.
> The haze or sheen is not uniform, but more evident in some dark areas
> than other dark areas. It seems that areas sullied by fingerprints are
> less affected.
> The photos don't scan very well. The sheen is quite pronounced.
> The angle of light has an effect on the sheen, but I can't find an
> angle that gets rid of it satisfactorily to give me a good
> reproduction (by digital camera).
> Any suggestions?
The silver sheen is a common occurrence in old photographs, and results from
the migration of free silver radicals within the emulsion. Some of the
radicals make their way to the surface, regain their electron, and deposit
themselves on the surface as metallic silver.
The silver may be physically removed by rubbing gently with a cloth. You
may also use commercial silver polish, but this is considered a high risk
procedure, and IMHO is unacceptable treatment for an irreplaceable
Carefully photograph the image with a digital camera, and isolate the
brighter silver areas with a mask, and darken them separately.
Alt.binaries is not accessible to most people. Post an example on a web
page somewhere, or email it to Mike AT curvemeister.com and I'll take a
crack at it. I would request your permission to add this to my web site as
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