Cindy’s brother, Roy, has been diligently trying to recover very old family images from the cache that their recently passed father had stashed away. Sadly though, the images — a very wide assortment of prints, slides, negatives, and 8mm movies — were kept in a garage, with no regard to protection from temperature or humidity extremes. As a result, most of them are suffering from some sort of degradation, whether it’s fungus, ground-in dirt and/or fingerprints from careless handling, scratches, cracks in the emulsion, color fading, or all of them combined.
Above is a typical example of what we have to work with. Roy wanted to use this image for the upcoming memorial service, as the two people seated in the foreground are his father, Mel, and his mother, Marge.
The source image is a 35mm slide, captured on Anscochrome, a color reversal film made by Agfa-Anso after World War II that was a direct competitor to Kodak‘s Kodachrome, only Anscochrome had a much faster ASA rating of 135, versus the slower ASA 25 being marketed for Kodachrome at the time.
What is the occasion of the image? I’m not sure, as nothing was written on the slide. I hazard a guess, though, that it may be their engagement announcement or post-wedding meal, as everyone is dressed in their Sunday finest. If it’s the post-wedding meal, then the date would be in early September of 1951. And if that’s correct, then the slide is 62 years old.
The top image is what Roy was able to capture using an inexpensive, low-resolution slide scanner. He had sent the JPG to me hoping I could clean it up. Sadly, the image was too far gone for me to recover. However, if I had the original slide image, I could capture it with my high-end film scanner, which has the ability to remove surface dirt from the final image via infrared scan. Below is the result, after much tinkering and tweaking.
I like the tonal range of the top image better, but I can’t duplicate it without the higher resolution image revealing extensive cracking in the film emulsion. But the surface dirt has all been nicely removed and the color shift of the fungus has been minimized, as well as color correction and contrast adjustments.