How to save photos after flood waters

The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works said saving photos after water damage is possible. You just need to act as quickly as possible. Damaged photographs for which there are no negatives should receive attention first. Handle wet photos carefully. The surfaces may be fragile. If you can, freeze the photos immediately (the photos may be defrosted later, separated and air-dried). If no freezer or refrigerator is available, gently remove dirt and debris by blowing it off or shaking the photo gently. Do not try to wipe it away, as this could cause the ink to smear, or you may scratch the surface of the photograph. Put the photos face-up in a single layer on a clean surface. Do not put them in direct sunlight! If you don’t have room to lay out your photos in a single layer, you can try putting wax paper in between each photo. Run a fan to circulate air over and around the items as they dry. Don’t worry if the photos curl as they dry. You can add weights to the tips of the photos to keep them down. As the photos dry and images appear, take photos of the photographs. They may actually get worse as they dry, so you will at least have a photo image of the picture. If the photo is stuck in a frame and you can’t remove it, it may be possible to scan the frame/photo to create a new jpeg image. Sometimes, freezing the photo and frame helps safely remove the photo from the glass backing. It may take two to three days for the photos to dry completely.

After you have done these things, please visit the following Facebook page where photo retouchers from around the world have generously donated their time and abilities to offer limited but free photo restoration services for victims of the storm.

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