My grandpa's pictures

Often simply written as "W/NW" - your favorite photos. Explain them, or let your photos (film or digital) speak for themselves.
titrisol
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My grandpa's pictures

Post by titrisol » Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:48 pm

My grandfather was a photography aficionado, and took pictures in the 1910s to the 60s when he died
All of them in Ecuador, most in the Quito Area, except for short trip to Guayaquil in the 20s
He used a stereoscopic camera that used glass plates, and then contact printed these in the darkroom to create positives

My father inherited a box of them and they were a joy when I was younger. This time when I visited my mom I decided to copy most of them and put together a simple copier rig with my camera, a macro lens, a light table and some cardboard
Image

The setup worked fine, bringing back pictures of my grandma, grandpa, etc that are just precious and have become the joy of my uncles, cousins, etc that are having a hard time figuring out who is who....
ImageQuito - Arco de StoDomingo-1921

ImageMy grandparents before their wedding

ImageMy grandfather Francisco Coronel at the Pichincha volcano -1923

I will keep uploading pictures in my flickr album (https://flic.kr/s/aHsmFrUu3p)

Now... Some of the photos are showing decay and need help... such as:
ImageCoronel family-1964s
I think this is the last picture of my grandfather with all his kids.... as you can see there is banding and poor developing

ImageMy grandmother with her 1st child (1927)

Any tips on how to save this will be highly appreciated

I have the originals in Raw format for processing
Last edited by titrisol on Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: My grandpa's pictures

Post by alexvaras » Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:06 pm

Great job this one you are doing! I would like to give you any advices regarding the negatives but I have no idea... others probably will know better.

Wonderful photos, I just added on flickr to take a look as soon as you post them.
Just from the first photo with the poncho guy I knew it should be Latinamerica ) thank you for sharing!

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Re: My grandpa's pictures

Post by Julio1fer » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:10 pm

That is a priceless treasure, Titrisol. It certainly deserves being converted to digital and archived properly.

As for improving the pictures - best bet would be to try to scan the negatives if they have been well conserved, which should be the case for glass plates in the relatively dry and mild Quito environment. Usually you can get more from the negatives than from old prints, or at list it is worth a try.

If you do not have a scanner available for large sizes, you may try using a light table or a tablet set to a white page, and photographing the negatives over the bright surface. I got reasonably good results with 122 rollfilm negatives and glass plates from about 1917 with a light table.

After scanning you may have to do some level / threshold corrections for best results. I would not bother shooting RAW, JPG with low compression would be enough for this purpose IMHO.

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Re: My grandpa's pictures

Post by titrisol » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:43 pm

Gracias Julio
Yes, the galss plate negatives are in a good state of conservation, except for a few. BUT I do not have all the negatives and it was a mix of positives and negatives
Especially the ones form the 60s, where I assume my grandfather's health was failing

I used the setup as shown with the light table to maintain uniformity and I used a dark spot in the apartment to prevent changes in light

As you can see most of the pics are crystal clear but a few need help... and so do I
Julio1fer wrote:That is a priceless treasure, Titrisol. It certainly deserves being converted to digital and archived properly.

As for improving the pictures - best bet would be to try to scan the negatives if they have been well conserved, which should be the case for glass plates in the relatively dry and mild Quito environment. Usually you can get more from the negatives than from old prints, or at list it is worth a try.

If you do not have a scanner available for large sizes, you may try using a light table or a tablet set to a white page, and photographing the negatives over the bright surface. I got reasonably good results with 122 rollfilm negatives and glass plates from about 1917 with a light table.

After scanning you may have to do some level / threshold corrections for best results. I would not bother shooting RAW, JPG with low compression would be enough for this purpose IMHO.
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Re: My grandpa's pictures

Post by Brazile » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:14 am

Fantastic post, and so good that you're saving them for future generations. I've been doing the same for my family's photos (mostly from my grandfather after his passing, although none so high quality as your plates) so am very familiar with the task by now. I use a scanner (an Epson V700 in my case, although I used a V500 for the first few years -- but when I started shooting larger formats (5x7 and larger) myself, I needed the capability of scanning larger frames that the V700 provides). I clean up the photos and archive them with tags in Lightroom so I can find them again. With Adobe's move to a subscription model, I am considering a future move to a different DAM, but haven't acted on that yet.

There is a great deal you can do in Photoshop to clean these up, whether to improve the contrast of the poorly-developed or fixed photos, or to repair creases and flaws in the emulsion. There is a book on doing this by Ctein that is pretty good, see:

Once digitized, it's possible to print them again, with your own inkjet or by sending to a service, to enlarge them (if you scanned with sufficient resolution), and even to print a "digital negative" on transparency sheet, allowing the use of traditional photo printing processes. This latter is great fun, because you can adjust the contrast of the digital negative to suit the process you wish to use, whether traditional silver gelatin printing or something more historic (e.g., salt, albumen, cyanotype, carbon, etc.)

Best of luck with these!

Robert

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Re: My grandpa's pictures

Post by titrisol » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:04 am

My grandfather was very organized, keeping notes on the positives such as:
Image1923-Feria-Carrera de Guayaquil

Which is helping me greatly in identifying and cataloging.

At the end I had a mix of glass plates both positives and negatives and it's only 2 batches that are troublesome (1963-64 that is showin "banding" and a batch from 1921 that is underexposed)
I couldn't take the plates out of my mom's so the files I have are it... have to work with them
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Re: My grandpa's pictures

Post by Philip » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:01 am

Wow. Great pictures. I am envious!

As an old archivist, let me say that there are two things people mean when they talk about archiving. One, which archivists do, is preserving the originals, both negatives and prints. This is real archiving. The other is digitising; it is also important but it is not actual core archiving (though all archivists do it too), rather it is copying for distribution and safe display.

Digital records can *approach* original quality (and given the ease of making clear prints from digital copies, it may seem they reach that quality or even exceed it) but the original is always the best. When originals are in a state of decline, the digital copy can, of course, retain a level of quality later lost in the original. But if the original has lasted 80 or 90 years already and is not being stored in a damp area or roughed up by constant use, there is no reason why it cannot be kept even longer.

With b&w materials, that preservation usually means keeping it in a dry space with little mechanical force on it except being in a solid folder, perhaps pressing against other similar materials, or interleaved with sheets of good quality paper. Paper quality is important since high-acid paper (and sticky substances) will damage the photos. But nothing special beyond that is required.

Good luck with it!

When digitising, make sure you make the best scan you can and that you save that scan as your primary digital form. Make copies of it for editing and production of prints, but save your scan as your "digital original."
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Re: My grandpa's pictures

Post by jamesmck » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:12 pm

Simply wonderful! You are so fortunate to have these.
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Re: My grandpa's pictures

Post by titrisol » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:50 pm

I'm speechless....
This picture used to hang in my grandmother's living room in a bad quality reproduction
This is the way I rememeber my grandfather (never met him in real life) so when I found the negative I was elated
It needed some work but it looks good IMHO

ImageFrancisco Coronel - 1920
Last edited by titrisol on Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My grandpa's pictures

Post by PFMcFarland » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:41 pm

I've been looking at these on Flickr, Pablo, and they are just wonderful, with a wide range of subjects. Much information can be gleaned from them for historians. As for your scans, there are many controls in all the post processing programs that can deal with the poor contrast, color, and scratches. You just have to play around with them to see which ones work best on a particular photo.

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