Conservation treatment of a water damaged photograph

This article is about the conservation treatment realised on a water damaged photograph by Emile Savitry, Bougnat Boulevard Saint Jacques (1935-1949), belonging to the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris (BHVP).

Damages

This photograph, printed late in the early 1990, was showing numerous damages caused by two consecutive water damages in the room where it was stored:

  • Fungal development
  • Weakening of the image layer which is cracked and flaking
  • Bottom right corner is missing
  • Print is distorted (wavy)
  • Images losses

Conservation and restoration treatment

To stabilise the photograph I started by:

  • Cleaning, removal of fungi & disinfection
  • Consolidation of image layer flakes
  • Flattening of the print

The photograph could then be manipulated without loosing any image flakes or parts. We then addressed the missing corner. It was important to fill this loss for two reasons: first because the edge was very fragile and needed some support, also because it was all you were looking at. The BHVP asked  for an infill that would be as invisible as possible. Finally, the image losses where impainted.

The print was then mated and housed in a conservation box before going back to the BHVP storage vault.

Do you have a water damaged photograph that you would like to save? Contact me, I can help you.

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