More common than you think photos stuck to glass can be a problem for your family photo’s health. Let us take a look at the issues and cures for this problem.
Modern homes are sealed up tight to keep out draughts and keep in the warmth. They also keep in moisture. Cooking and wet washing will cause moisture in the air. On a cold window frame sits your photo. As a rule, the moisture in the air likes to condense on cool glass. The relative warmth of the wood or board backing against the cold of the glass means any unsealed photos could get water vapour condensing inside.
This becomes an issue where the moisture softens the top surface of “modern photographic papers” and you end up with photos stuck to the glass. Sealed frames correctly taped up from a professional framer should not suffer this way. Modern frames with open edges and loosely fitting backs can suffer.
If this does happen you may start to see a change in colour where the photo has stuck to the glass. Perhaps a “greying” in areas or a strange pattern forming under the glass. Sunlight adds to the problem making these areas loose colour faster than those not directly contacting the glass surface. You end up with a photo irregular faded and tricky to fix.
Don’t try to peel the photos off the glass. 99 times out of 100 it will rip and bits will come away and remain stuck. The trick is to remove the glass from the frame with the photo still stuck to it. We can now deal with the photo in a more manageable form.
Clean the front of the glass. You may notice some dirt along the edges where the glass has been held by the frame. With some warm breath on the front side of the glass, use a soft tissue to clean it. Sometimes the back of the glass is also dirty where the image is not stuck. Take great care when cleaning here. Any additional moisture will cause more “sticking”. Clean with a dry tissue or lint-free cloth by gently bending the photo away from the glass. Be sure not to rip it.
Now the photo is clean it can be scanned through the glass on a flatbed scanner. When glass touches glass a petrol-like pattern can occur called “moire”. To avoid this, the trick is to support the glass on the glass scanner bed with four triangles of thin card.
This not only prevents damage to your scanner but also stops this “moire” pattern from occurring. The side effect of this is that it raises the image further away from the point of focus. On cheap scanners, this focus point is where the photo touches the glass. So raising the image away will in some cases prevent a sharp scan from being made. More expensive scanners have a deeper focus area and can even cope with objects 5 to 10 mm away.
Once the image is scanned using the recommended scanning technique for photo restoration the image can then be restored!