Tuesday, 12 October 2010

What to Avoid When Storing & Handling Your Photos

  • Dirt, dust, and oils from your hands can cause permanent damage. You should handle prints and negatives along the edges, preferably while wearing white cotton gloves.
  • The worst places to store your photographs are in an un-insulated attic or basement. Constant high temperatures and humidity in the summer and low temperatures and humidity in the winter can cause your photographs to become brittle and crack. In severe cases, it may cause separation of the emulsion (image) from the support (paper base) of the photo. Dampness can cause photographs to stick together. Insects and rodents, commonly found in basements, also like to feed on photos. The best conditions for storing photographs are in a location with a consistent temperature from 65°F-70°F with a relative humidity of about 50%. These aren't always possible in a home environment, however, so if your photographs are especially important to you, you may want to consider storing them in a safe deposit box at your bank where the conditions are ideal.
  • Do not store your negatives in the same place as your photographs. If something happens to your photos or albums, your negatives will still be available to reprint your treasured family heirloom.
  • Do not write on the back of your photos with standard ball-point or felt-tip ink pens. Unless it is marked specifically for use on photos, most ink contains acids which will eat away at and stain your photos over time. If you must mark a photo and don't have an acid-free photo marking pen available, then write lightly with a soft lead pencil on the back of the image.
  • Do not use rubber bands or paper clips to hold photos together. Rubber bands contain sulphur which can cause your photo to deteriorate. Paper clips can scratch the surface of your photos or negatives. Clippings should be photocopied onto alkaline paper.
  • Do not use paper clips to hold photos together or in albums. They can scratch the surface of your photos or negatives.
  • Do not display important photos in your home. The glass can stick to the emulsion over time. Sunlight will cause your photo to fade. If you want to display a precious photo, then have a copy made and display the copy!
  • Do not use glues (especially rubber cement) or pressure sensitive tapes to mend photographs or hold them in albums.  Most glue contains substances such as sulphur and acids which will cause your photos to deteriorate. Look for special photo-safe glues and tapes in the archival section of your favourite photo or craft store.
  • Avoid exposing photographic materials to anything containing sulphur dioxide, fresh paint fumes, plywood, cardboard, and fumes from cleaning supplies.
  • Water and fire can ruin your photos. Keep pictures away from fireplaces, heaters, dryers etc. Avoid water damage by storing photos on high shelves well away from water pipes and in locations not prone to flooding or leaks (don't store in the basement or in a closet which backs on a shower, tub or sink).
  • Avoid cheap photo albums and paper and plastic storage products that aren't specifically made for storing photos. Regular envelopes, Ziploc bags (unless Ph neutral) and other things commonly used for photo storage aren't always safe for your photos. Use only lignin free, acid free, un-buffered paper for storing photographs or as interleaving paper in albums. Use only PVC-free plastics such as Polyester, Mylar, Polypropylene and Polyethylene.


No comments:

Post a Comment