I have had some luck soaking it in cold water for a long time (like over night). Then you have to give it a long time to dry as well. On "new" photos (where the customer has a negative) I don't mind using a water bath, but for antiques or sentimental "one of" photos I really suggest getting a digital copy of it first.
But whether using heat or water do warn the customer and let them decide how to go!
A photographer once advised me to try applying mineral oil sparingly while prying the photo ohh so slowly..I wont tell you to do that because after nearly an hour of intensive labor..I mess it all up! Im with Dave..It could be worthwhile reframing it with the old glass.
Framers getting conservation advice from photographers?
What's this world coming too?
I know it makes sense to ask the customer what they'd like to do. And we certainly need to advise them of the risks before we try any of the crazy things we want to try. But, really, they know even less about this than we do. My experience has been that the same customer that says, "Go for it!" is not going to be terribly understanding when the paper lifts off and leaves the emulsion on the glass.
A signed release may discourage legal action, but it won't prevent the customer from holding a grudge that will outlive all of us.
This has been discussed several times in the recent past. Do a <u>search</u> at the top of this page.
I hate to be discouraging, but when I have tried to soak a stuck photo in a pan of cold water, it took several days of gently rocking the glass to finally “float” the photo free but the emulsion turned to jello after that time. The photo was ruined. If you try a test tug at the photo before it is completely free, you will most certainly tear the emulsion.
Some people have suggested that you pop the glass/photo into the ‘fridge for a few hours, but that hasn’t worked for me, either.
Scanning the photo through the glass seems like the best alternative, but you will probably have to do some clever Photoshopping to get rid of the “glaze” where the emulsion is in contact with the glass.
No, no mineral oil! Not unless you like nice grease stains on your stuck photograph.
Conservator, or scan. There is simply too much variation in photographic processes and processing for a stock solution (pun!) to this problem. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes impossible. You don't get paid enough to take the risk.
I am a Photographer and I use one of those steam cleaner. But first I always I scan it with the focus point set at the print, not on the glass. Many of your better flat bed scanner You can set the focus point. Then I use one of those small steam cleaner and aplied steam between the glass and the photo. work slowly and take your time. Aplied the steam a little at a time, take care not to over wet the photo. when the photo is free let it dry on a dust free flat surface. if you mess it up you can fall back on the scan file! It works more then 9 out 10 times! Photos from the 70's are allways a problem. the paper surface has a finish that is hard to remove from glass and also does not scan well.
The times that it does not work is with prints from the early to mid 70's. The fact that I look at the type of print and have the know how to know which photo will release form the glass and which ones will not. I let the customer know what the risk is and don't do the ones that will not release. As far as a 10% failure rate that is very much unacceptable for my photography. I have very happy customers as those that will not release I don't do. Please do not soak it in water or use mineral oil as that can cause more damage!
I alway give my photo clients a information sheet on the care of the unmounted print and a big NO is having the photo touching the glass. That is why about 8 years ago I offer framing, matting and mounting to my clients so that my work last and I have very happy clients!
I'm sure you do, Mike, and my comments were not directed at you in particular.
Framers have customers who think we can do anything, and we start to believe that ourselves. We just can't stand to say, "No, I'm not qualified to do that, but I'll help you find someone who is."
Then we say that we don't think the customer will pay for the services of a conservator, but we are bewildered at the 90% of consumers who won't pay for the services of a custom framer. Do conservators ever say, "I don't think my customer will spring for custom framing of this piece I just restored, so I'm going to frame it for next-to-nothing, though I really don't know much about the actual mechanics of framing?"
Do they have a conservator's Grumble where they can ask what kind of glue to use for a wood frame?
We sometimes blanche at the term "conservator" when speaking with a customer. I had a Gorman which needed unhinging from a fabric mat. I sent the client to a conservator here in town. He unhinged it and cleaned the residue while she waited (and watched!) and charged her $20.00. He said he thought that was fair because it was a trifling problem to him. My kinda of guy: he'll get our repeat business. May you all have folk like him available.