View Full Version : Turning yellow with age. Help.

10-Nov-2011, 07:30
I have discovered some of my older 8x10 film is yellowing. Stuff I processed in the 1980s. There are some broad areas of yellowing that you wouldn't notice right off but once you look for it you can see it.
The problem is that I need to reprint some of these negs in platinum and the yellow is blocking the UV enough to cause uneven tones in the print.

I know this is from either improper fixing or washing. Not sure which.
Is there any way to restore the negs at least to some degree?

thanks for the help
Dennis Purdy

MIke Sherck
10-Nov-2011, 07:32
After reading the headline I was going to suggest vitamins and maybe more time outdoors, but I see that your problem wasn't what I had assumed. :)


Ken Lee
10-Nov-2011, 08:51
What film/developer/fixer, etc ?

10-Nov-2011, 09:26
I have spent some time researching this and now it seems that discoloration is inevitable as film ages. It is a chemical process including the celluloide as well. The factors to speed it up are humidity and temperature. The process can be slowed by keeping your film frozen in a moisture proof container.
Back in the days I made this film I printed in platinum under sun lamps that got very hot and the film would get very hot as well as having humidity/moisture from the process.
Now I print under UV florescent bulbs but I humidify the heck out of the paper before printing in contact with the film. Forewarned is forearmed as they say, from now on my film will be stored in the deep freezer if I can find packaging that assures it stays dry.
I guess I need to think of some way to make the entire negative the same yellow so it prints evenly in platinum.

Mark Woods
10-Nov-2011, 13:45
I discovered some negs that did that recently and I re-fixed them and washed them. All but one cleared up and that one was much better than it was.

10-Nov-2011, 14:33
Thanks Mark. I will definitely give it a try.

10-Nov-2011, 16:57
You can also tone your negs for preservation purposes, though that might give you problematically high contrast for silver printing.

John Kasaian
10-Nov-2011, 17:20
Interesting as awhile back I came across some 90 year old negatives that were pinkish, not yellow colored

Mark Woods
10-Nov-2011, 17:44
I hope it works for you. An attorney that worked with AA the last 15 years of his life and set the estate up, told me that a number of AA's negs were deteriorating. I asked him why they didn't bring in a conservator and wash them, refix them, and then selenium tone them. He was very dismissive that "One doesn't simply wash an AA negative." Sigh. He may've been a wonderful photographer, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to stop the deterioration. This is from an Attorney, so who knows? I haven't heard anything about this anywhere else, and I know one can buy "reprints" from original AA negs. So, maybe they're the ones that are contemporaries of "newly discovered" glass plate negs....

10-Nov-2011, 18:08
I took 4 of the negs and re fixed them in fresh fix and then rinsed and soaked them in hypo clear and then washed them and at least wet they do look better though not perfect. It is so faint that had I not been printing in platinum and having vintage prints to compare to I would never have noticed. They could be printed on graded Gelatin silver and print perfectly I am sure.
A couple of years ago I was hired to platinum print a stack of 11x14 glass plates that were very old. All had yellow patches that stood out clearly and those areas nearly didn't print at all.

Jim Jones
10-Nov-2011, 21:02
With valuable negatives, first duplicate them as accurately as possible. Using panchromatic film and an appropriate filter might eliminate uneven yellowing. Then try to refix.

Arne Croell
11-Nov-2011, 00:07
If it does not clear up completely with fixing it again, I'd try diluted Farmers reducer for a short time, then another fix and wash. It is quite possible that the yellow color is colloidal silver. Of course, try that with an unimportant negative first!