Photographs & Digital Restoration

The Photography Department can assist with works including antique, sepia, black and white, hand-colored, color, and contemporary photographic prints. This department also specializes in the digital reproduction of delicate works so originals can be stored to avoid further unnecessary deterioration.

Treatment Examples

Click on any image below to view a larger version and to view in sequence. For more detailed information, see our archive of related newsletter articles.

Early 20th century photograph digitally restored

Grandparents, Hand-colored black and white photograph, early 20th c. 21 x 17 in.

This photograph had an acidic mount, scattered surface abrasion and losses throughout (left). The photograph was digitally restored (right).

Digitally retouched photograph

Young Woman’s Portrait. Photograph. 14 x 11 in.

Due to age-related damage a general discoloration of the emulsion layer had occurred (left). In treatment the image was digitally scanned at high resolution and digitally retouched to correct the visual inconsistencies (right).

Fire-damaged family portrait

Family Portrait, Black and white photograph. Mid 20th c. 9 x 11 in.

This portrait experienced moderate to severe fire damage; the frame, mat, mount and glazing were considered a loss (#1). When disassembled, a part of the photograph had adhered to the large glass shard (#3, #4). Through digital reproduction the damage was repaired (#2).

Photograph with water and mold damage

Staff Sergeant, Baquiere Ismael Studio, Hand-colored black and white photograph. 14 x 11 in.

This photograph was found in a basement after experiencing significant water damage, hence the extreme mold damage to the bottom right corner (left). In treatment the photograph was digitally reconstructed to repair areas (right).

Photograph with mold and tears

Mother’s Portrait, Hand-colored Photograph, 10 x 8 in.

The photograph had adhered to the glass, resulting in numerous losses and tears, and there was moderate mold staining as well (left). The photograph was cleaned and digitally reconstructed to repair damage (right).

Photographic reproduction

General Lafayette’s Visit, Photographic reproduction, 19th c. 8.5 x 15.5 in.

Due to the nature of the damage this piece was considered a loss (left). Digital reproduction was the only option for repair (right).

Antifreeze and hand-painted photography

Young Girl’s Portrait. Hand-painted photograph.

This photograph was stored in a garage, where antifreeze leaked onto it and resulted in mold (left). Due to the extensive damage, a digital reproduction was created (right).

Soot damaged photograph

This photograph was surface cleaned and retouched to remove the soot damage, and the frame’s silver lip was cleaned and polished and the velvet replaced.

Photograph with missing pieces

The losses in this sheet were restored with paper fills after the sheet was humidified and flattened. The photographs were retouched and the missing segments were replicated.

Damaged photograph

This photograph was humidified and flattened, the damaged emulsion areas were retouched, and the piece was mounted to museum board.