Water damaged prints and negatives - is there any hope? :-(

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mingleby
mingleby Regular Member • Posts: 171
Water damaged prints and negatives - is there any hope? :-(

Hi Guys,

I thought I'd post here, since there are doubtless many fellow photographers who still have stockpiles of 'old' photographic prints and negatives. It's a tale of woe, but hopefully I can get the info I need (for better, or worse!). Here we go...

I had a large stockpile of all my old 35mm photos (6x4" and 5x7" gloss-finish prints) and negatives (most kept in their original thin cardboard 'folders' from the photo-shop) at my parents place, in a large suitcase.

Unfortunately their place was flooded and the case was (as far as I can guess) at least partially submerged. As a result many of the photos were also partially submerged.

Now, I didn't hear about this until many months later. After the flood, my parents emptied the suitcase and left the packets of photos/negatives on a shelf to dry (without opening them, or checking/separating the photos), after which they put everything back into new (dry) boxes.

When I rushed to check the photos (unsurprisingly) a lot of them were 'stuck-together' and some had mould on them too. Same deal with a lot of the negatives; they were stuck together. I managed to peel some of them apart, but the surface of the prints were left with 'residue' on the gloss surface.

What I'd like to know:

Is there any way to safely separate 35mm photos that are stuck together? Maybe there are methods other than physically ripping them apart - I tried this and ended up doing nothing more than tearing the prints!)

What's the best way to clean mould and other residue from the surface of prints and negatives?

Thanks for any help or suggestions, there's about 25 years of memories tied up in these photos. It would be a real shame if the majority of them had to be dumped.

Thanks for taking your time to read through this sad tale!

Cheers,

Mike.

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