Q: I have several old black-and-white photographs that have been rolled up in a tube for quite a few years. How can I get these pictures to lie flat? The prints are approximately two feet long and ten inches high.
A: You will have several problems to overcome in trying to take the bends out of the photographs. One is that because they have been stored such a long time, fungus may have attacked the emuslion so you have to be very careful in the handling. Another is that even if you do straighten them out, the prints have a "memory" and eventually they will snap back around again.
I called an Eastman Kodak expert about your probelem. His suggestion was to first thoroughly soak the prints in plain water not above 70* f. Then lay the wet print face up on a clean towel, place another clean towel over it and weigh it down flat with newspaper. Don't apply too much presure -- just enough to flatten.
After the prints are dry, mount them on cardboard with mounting tissue so they'll stay that way and not pick up their memory-curve.
Eastman Kodak, by the way, has a publication called Preservation of Photographs (Kodak Publication F-30) that has many helpful hints on the care and preservation of black-and-white prints. It and Kodak's other books can be ordered from: Publications, Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, New York 14650 at a cost of $5.50.
Q: I wonder if you could please help me in selecting a camera? I have two Instamatic cameras and I'm not happy with either one. My children are both involved in sports, inside and out, but I don't have one decent picture of them competing. I would like a camera that's easy to use -- it's so confusing reading each camera's qualifications. I want a camera that will make it simple to take action shots, in fact, all kinds of photos.
A: Frankly, I don't think your problem is in the choice of brand of camera, but in the type you need for action photography and the techniques to use. The Instamatic is fine for what it was intended for -- closeups of friends and family and causal snaps. The problems start when you try to do other kinds of photography with it. In fact, this is the reason for all those different kinds of cameras that you see advertised -- each has a special use.
Q: What causes those "snowflakes" appearing on the screen from my super 8-mm film? I took some home movies and they came out all right, but when I lent them to a friend they came back with these white spots projected halfway through the screening. How can I get rid of them?
A: I don't know what caused the "snowflakes," but I do have a suggestion on how to melt them away. The film can be cleaned and lubricated (to permit better passage) by drawing it between lintless cloths (such as soft cotton batiste) moistened with Kodak movie cleaner with lubricant.
The procedure is to place the film on a rewind and thread the leader onto a takeup reel. Then rewind the film while holding it between two cloths that have been moistened with the cleaner/lubricant. Keep a light pressure on the film as it's being wound and don't wind too fast, so the cleaner can evaporate before it reaches the takeup reel. Remoisten the cloths frequently, because the solvent evaporates quickly, and refold them to avoid scratching by dirt particles.