I've been going through a box of old physical photos trying to scan and save them.

This picture has been in a frame for over 2 decades and is now stuck to the broken glass.

Is there a recommended way to remove this photo without ripping it or pulling the ink off?

If it helps the photo was taken in 97 and printed on Konica photo paper.

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2 Answers 2


Before doing anything else, I would suggest making as high a quality and high resolution scan (2400dpi not interpolated) as you can using a flatbed scanner and save the image in an uncompressed file format like TIF, not JPG. Do that through the existing glass before doing anything to recover the photo. The file will be huge, but not an issue for current storage technology.

The image is the most important thing. Being able to make a reproduction, even imperfect, is going to be better than loosing the whole thing in a recovery attempt.

If the upper portion is not adhered, then I would just cut it free and resize as a 2"x3" or wallet. Once you soak the paper, it wont lay flat.

If the upper portion of the image is adhered as well as the lower, and the substance is water soluble, Then Alan's suggestion will work. If you want to test it, only soak the lower portion of the image and see how well it separates.

I think it is more likely to be the plastic matte coating over the dye layer that is sticking and maybe from heat and preasure. Before trying water I would carefully try a sharp straight razor starting from the bottom and see if you can cut them apart.

If what is sticking them together is water soluble then Alan's suggestion will work fine. If say it got really hot, or the substance is oil based then soaking will lift the paper off of the dye layer instead of the dye layer off of the glass. The dye layer and matte surface are not strong. the paper is the strength of the image.


This color photograph is comprised of dye (not ink) imbedded in a gelation layer. My advise is to soak this picture, frame, glass, and all in a shallow pan of water. Allow to soak for several hours. After the soak, try to gently separate the picture from the glass. If still stuck, add a thimble full of dishwashing detergent. If this works, place the wet picture, face up on a white towel and allow to air dry. Please note, no method will be without some risk. I think this will be your best bet.


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