Caring for your Photographs

There are a few basics on how to properly store and mount photographs that you should know.  Photos are very fragile, especially as they age and you want to take care of them on the front end of their existence to ensure they last the test of time.  As photographs age, they can yellow, crack and stick to glass.  They can even become moldy, yes this is possible!  If your photos have already been damaged, there are a number of solutions available as well to correct them; often it does require the efforts of a professional.

Photographs have three basic layers and each layer requires special care.  The layers are: the supportive backing, the binder, and the image material, or emulsion. The supportive backing is typically cardboard or heavy paper. The binder is an agent that binds the image to the backing.  The image material is suspended in the binder, and can consist of silver, color dyes, and pigment particles. Each layer requires special care. Over time, the paper can yellow or grow mold; the binder can become soft and sticky, or dry and cracked; the image materials such as color dyes fade much quicker in direct sunlight.

Things to keep in mind when deciding how to store your photographs.  Sunlight quickens the possible deterioration of your photos and humid air can also effect the longevity of your photograph.  When displaying your photos keep them out of direct sunlight and in a cool, temperature controlled room (not too humid or too dry).

There are several things to keep in mind as well, when you are mounting your photographs.  All supplies should be acid-free.  When you are mounting, your photos ensure that you have a good mat, a solid backing board and either use a good quality glazing material or a glass/acrylic frame.  The “glazing” material is any thick, clear material that protects your photo from UV radiation. Do not let the glass or acrylic come in contact with the photograph, use a mat spacer, this will ensure that the photograph does not stick to the glass.

Taking proper care of your photographs upfront will ensure a longer life for your memories, allowing future generations to share your special memories.

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