Photo stuck to glass


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Feb 23, 2004
Kennebunk, Maine
Has anyone ever use the water submersion technique to release an old photo from glass? It's an old b&w 1953 photo that has no coating on the verso... just old acid burned paper. I'm completely geeked about the thought of soaking it. Any other options?
1. Take it to a qualified photograph restorer (not all of them are not qualified), have it scanned/photographed, digitally corrected, and then print copies in any size or quantity.

2. Soak it.

3. Freeze it.

4. Heat it.

Option 1. is the only one I recommend.
Yeah, call Ocean Exposure, but hurry as they are closed all next week.

Actually Erin I have soaked my own photos but I too am scared about soaking a customers. The emulsion gets all soft and "fluid" so after getting the glas off you gotta be sure it doesn't slide around.
I’ve tried ‘em all.

Nothin’ works 100% of the time except what Jim suggests.
I've soaked, only to have the emulsion stay on the glass and the paper release from the emulsion.

It ain't pretty.

At the very least, scan/copy first before doing anything reckless.
Ron, sounds like you invented the canvas transfer technique for the DIY framer!

Maybe if you call the Carey Brothers they will be able to save their readers $1000s of dollars!

reference to an old post
Yeah, I hear you on the reproduction, but you know customers... I agree so I'll just have to put my educator/saleswoman hat back on.

Wow Bob, OE is closed ALL during Fourth of July week and they're a camera shop/film processor located a mile from the beach? I wonder why. I used to work there and I could swear that was a wicked busy week. I guess I'm mistaken. I'll never forget the scent of sunscreen and sea air on giggly tourists on days when I was DYING to get out!
Erin, I don't really know much about this transaction and so its not pointed at you at all.

Often when I read questions similar to this I wonder why the framer even took the job in. I mean just the question is proof that you don't know how to clean, remove, or repair the piece. I keep an eraser at the design counter so when a customer asks, "can you remove the smudge" I hand em an eraser right then.

I have never received a piece stuck to glass but I can tell you that when I do, I will either suggest that we scan and reprint it or politely tell them to return when they remove the photo from the glass (I don't know a photo conservator). The reason I think this is so important is because you look more professional knowing your capabilities, even if that means you just refuse the work.

Carry on.
There is another option:
Frame it as is.
I had a customer years ago who asked about removing her photo from the glass, knowing what I was likely to say. The old glass was cracked as well.
It was a photo with some sentimental value, yet she didn't want to go to the expense of having it scanned and reprinted. So we matted over the glass and put glass over that and it ultimately made for an interesting piece.
Never hurts to say "can't do that, but I CAN do this..."

edie the yaneverknow goddess
I have removed photos from glass several times by soaking; once or twice with success. Add photo-flow to the water, it acts like a detergent but a bit more mild. Also, use warm, soft water it will work better.

Best solution would be to have it reproduced at the owners expense. No guarantees with the soaking process. I remember removing a mans face from the glass with a razor blade and gluing it back on the poor guys neck. It worked out OK after a lot of extra work but I do not recommend the process.

Jack Cee
Just had a client come in with 4 photos "very" stuck to the glass of their frames.

I scanned them and did a bit of PhotoShop work, a little color correction and sharpening, and she was very happy because the results looked better than the originals. Reprinted them on Epson 2200 using matte finish watercolor paper.

Only one of the pix came off the glass without damage after soaking. The other 3 had the emulsion separate from the base paper and were essentially destroyed...made her sign on the workorder that that might happen.

I've read about getting prints of these 'stuck' photos before. But exactly what do you do?

Clean the outside glass?
Put it face down on a scanner or copier & 'poof', print? Doesn't the glass it's under distort the photo? Glare? Traces of the outside edges of the glass? Traces of the 'stuck spot' show?

I've always been curious. Guess that's why you need Photo Shop perhaps.

Clean the glass and scan Sherry. Yes, the "Stuck Spot" shows but then you have to go in there and PhotoShop it out. I scan the images at 200% so that any retouching I do is minimized when reducing it back down to its actual size for printing.

The glass is thin enough so it doesn't distort.

It is a lot of work but...charge a lot for it!!
People are willing to pay because most often these are images that are very important to them, family stuff etc.

It is a nice service to provide...makes you kinda special!!

Thanks JOEL! I just might give it a whirl!...starting with something of my own, of course!