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ot: preserving old photos. was: re: artwork copyright?

updated sat 22 sep 07


WJ Seidl on fri 21 sep 07

Jeanette had a very good suggestion.
If I might, one more.
I have a "run-of-the-mill" color scanner. A Canon, if it matters, that
will also do
slides and negatives.
Do NOT attempt this on a scanner into which you must "feed" the photo,
use only a
flat platen type.

Place the photo onto the platen (the glass plate) and close the lid.
Make sure the glass is clean.
Using Photoshop or another photo imaging software, adjust the settings
for the best resolution
you can get. Usually around 600-1500 dpi.
Scan the image (which will take forever, be warned), and when it opens
in your selected software, then save it as a file.
I usually save it using Adobe Acrobat or Illustrator (because I'm too
damn cheap to buy Photoshop )
and save the image as a .pdf. That way, the image is preserved and can
be enlarged almost to your heart's
content without it pixellating as it grows.
Be sure if you do this, that you have _lots_ of room on your hard drive,
some of the files can be huge...hundreds of megabytes each.

I completed scanning about 400 old family photos (going back to about
1890) found in a box in my grandmother's attic a few years ago,
then burned them on to 6 sets of 11 CDs for distribution to other family
members. I did it the way I mentioned above.
It was not a fun task, more boring than anything else, but a true labor
of love. The project took months, but they are now preserved forever.
The CDs (and the relatives they contain) have been presented to yet
another generation, a generation that did not know them, had
never seen or met them, along with stories told of them by my
grandmother and aunt. How cool is that?
Paper doesn't last forever, nor does a hard drive, nor will a CD. I'm
still waiting for crystalline storage cubes, ala Star Trek
Wayne Seidl

Jeanette Harris wrote:
> If you have a digital camera, set the lens either to macro or at the
> highest resolution you have and at the recommended distance for that
> lens setting and take several shots. (Set the camera down on
> something that is exactly in line with the photo, then very gingerly
> press the button. This will avoid blurring.) I usually shut the flash
> off too. The larger image can be cropped, so don't worry about the
> background that might show. The object is to get the best image
> possible at the highest resolution. Store the image in your computer.
> If you want to commission a portrait, print it off on high quality
> paper and give that to the artist you commission. Keep the Polaroid
> in an acid free envelope or folder and store it away from the light.
> I was able to preserve several tintype images and some old regular
> photographs and share them with my family as attachments to email.
> Good luck!