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Scanning Original Ambrotype

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  • HenryC
    replied
    Re: Scanning Original Ambrotype

    B. Hoover is correct. Scanning ambros to preserve the image is safe, and a good practice to avoid overhandling of the original.

    The same goes for dags. My wife (RobinG of CW Forum) and I scan our ambros and dags to save and study the images and use in public programs. Whenever possible, carefully remove the plate from its case so that the entire image is scanned. This allows you to inspect each component as well as to look for maker's markings of any kind. We did this with an ambro purchased at a local antique shop. After wondering why it seemed so heavy, Robin opened it and discovered a COPPER PLATE underneath. Yes, it was a dag, a ghostly image of a man buried in the case under an ambro of a woman.

    Quite the two-for-one sale, and what interesting questions it raised. Who put it there? Family member? Were they husband and wife (they seemed of similar ages) or brother and sister? Why was it placed inside? Was this common? Who's finger print was on it? Was the finger print as old as the image? Perhaps of the man/woman in the picture? The dag plate was also marked, which means (being a 1/6 plate) it was a marked corner of the master plate and thus, less common than other unmarked plates. Only one out of six of all 1/6 plates were marked. Remember to be careful when opening image cases and follow experienced instructions. There are good resources on the care of cased images, which should have good opening guidelines. Weinstein and Booth is an old standard. The main thing is to proceed slowly and cautiously. No need to rush. Also, when scanning ambros, use a black cloth or black construction paper behind it if the black backing if it is damaged or worn through. This will enable the scanner to "see" the image clearly, and you'll like the results. One more thing. Ruby glass ambros are special. Keep them! :)

    I am leaving B. Hoover's website reference here for those interested in scanning historic images. (http://www.city-gallery.com/digital/safe_scans.html)

    Cheers,

    Henry, please sign all posts with your full name - Mike Chapman
    Last edited by dusty27; 03-05-2004, 10:09 PM.

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  • BHoover
    replied
    Re: Scanning Original Ambrotype

    All this discussion got me interested in finding the facts, rather than what we all thought might be true, so I did some searching, and think I have some good answers. (For a nice discussion read the page here, where the question of safely scanning antique images is treated in a detailed fashion.

    Bottom line, the light from one scan is about like keeping the image in normal light for a single day indoors. So in practical terms we should be able to scan ambros for home use with no problems at all. If you read the information at the above link though, you'll see that albumen prints are another story altogether.

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  • HOG.EYE.MAN
    replied
    Re: Scanning Original Ambrotype

    I have a picture I want scanned too.... Thanks for the advice Scott and Dusty.

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  • dusty27
    replied
    Re: Scanning Original Ambrotype

    As Bruce has pointed out, light will "damage" anything over time. For repro uniforms, that's good. For original anything, that's bad. Scott's suggestion of a digital image would probably be the "best" way to do this. The light of the scanner will damage your ambrotype. You may not be able to see it, but it will damage it.

    Also, if you have the original and you are able, you should store it in an acid free box or display it, out of direct light, with an acid free backing for the frame. Touch it directly as little as possible.

    Congrats on the find.

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  • BHoover
    replied
    Re: Scanning Original Ambrotype

    Originally posted by Bill Huber
    My wife's grandmother recently showed me an ambrotype of a family member that was taken in Charleston, SC - the subject is in uniform. It looks to be of early war vintage. My question is: if I attempt to scan the ambrotype into my PC, do I risk damage to the image by exposing it to the bright light of the scanner? Anyone have experience doing this?
    Bill,
    I have scanned several ambrotypes, both original and modern, and can't say that I saw any degredation of the ambro. Someone who knows more about the chemistry could comment on whether the image is susceptible to damage from light, but I suspect that the duration is so short that a one-time scan won't hurt it. At least that has been the case with mine.

    I say one-time, although I should warn you that ambro's seem to scan a bit differently than normal images, at least on my scanner, so I had to play with it a bit to get something I liked. As an example, the picture I use as an avatar is cropped from a scanned ambro.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Scanning Original Ambrotype

    Why not get a digital camera & make a copy image?

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Scanning Original Ambrotype

    I just can't say one way or another about you question, but one possible way would be to take it to a reputable profession photographer, and he can take a nice portrait from it, and enlarge it to the size you want, and then you will also have a hard copy for your files as well as it scanned.

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  • Bill Huber
    started a topic Scanning Original Ambrotype

    Scanning Original Ambrotype

    My wife's grandmother recently showed me an ambrotype of a family member that was taken in Charleston, SC - the subject is in uniform. It looks to be of early war vintage. My question is: if I attempt to scan the ambrotype into my PC, do I risk damage to the image by exposing it to the bright light of the scanner? Anyone have experience doing this?
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