May 4, 2014

Preserving your pictures

My mother's cousin Phyllis recently got in touch with me. She was really more like a sister to Mom, as they grew up together and Mom didn't have any siblings.

Phyllis came across some old photos of my mother, and thought I would probably like to have them. She sent them along, which was very nice, as most were photos I didn't have and had never even seen before.

I'm fortunate enough to have a lot of original photos of my family-- some quite old-- and this prompted me to post about how I try to preserve them so that these pictures last as long as possible.

Sunlight, moisture, and acid are the enemies. Sunlight fades photos over time, eventually destroying them. Moisture, especially here in Florida, can also damage them. Acid is found in some types of plastics and glue.

I keep my old and important original photos in a binder with pvc-free sleeves, out of sunlight, and instead frame/display copies. Another advantage of displaying copies is that you can enhance photos and fix flaws, such as spots or creases, on the computer before printing them.

If you for some reason can't make a copy and must display the original photo, consider using uv-filter plexiglass that will help prevent fading.

Use mats as well. They aren't just decorative, they serve a practical purpose: a mat creates a small space between the photograph and the glass. Moisture will eventually form inside the glass and, if the photo is touching the glass directly, it will get damaged.

If you have boxes full of photos in your garage, you really should at the very least bring them inside, such as to a closet, where they won't be exposed to humidity and other elements.

I'm sure others of you might have more ideas!
My mother, aged about 9, with Snowball, her Japanese Spitz

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