View Full Version : Why did my film turn blue?

Steve Goldstein
28-Dec-2008, 05:51
Yesterday I helped a friend rescue black-and-white negatives after a basement flood. Ugh. The basic procedure was to remove them from their ruined storage envelopes, rewash briefly in a 3% isopropanol solution (in steam-distilled water) with half-strength Photo-Flo, and hang to dry. This is stunningly tedious, but it worked fine with an interesting exception.

One old (~50 years?) 120 neg turned light blue immediately upon immersion and didn't clear after it dried. I have no idea what film it was, as it was a single frame with no edge markings. The blue was not uniform across the negative and didn't seem to correlate with image density. Some of his other 120 strips were Ilford FP4 (not FP4+), but they didn't show this behavior. All the negatives seemed well-processed, there was no staining or other visible problem even though many of them were 30+ years old.

This wasn't a terribly important negative, and as he's gone digital he should be able to scan it OK, but the blue was very unexpected. The only "interesting" thing about this negative was that it had been stored in some kind of lightweight manila-colored envelope, whereas all the others were in plain white paper envelopes with no glassine or other "archival" protection.

Does anyone know why this happened? Any suggestions for removing the blue?

28-Dec-2008, 09:54
Have you tried to re-fix it?

Steve Goldstein
28-Dec-2008, 11:30
No, we haven't. Yesterday was purely a salvage operation, no time for niceties. I'll suggest it to him. Thanks for the idea.

Nathan Potter
28-Dec-2008, 12:31
Sounds like the clue to discoloration could be related to storage in the manila envelope. Any of the other negs stored in the same type of envelope? The stain would most likely be in the gelatin emulsion. To check this scratch off a bit of emulsion at the edge of the film where it dosen't matter. See if the scratched area is untinted. Refix is a possibility but I would guess that would not be successful if the contamination came from the wet envelope.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.