Preserving Your Photos

Time will not stand still

Why keep photographs

They connect us to our family and friends and ancestors.
They provide us with records of our community. geography and experiences.

Worst practices

Excessive handling with bare hands
Exposure to light, heat moisture and chemicals
Storage in acid or PVC albums
Attached to sticky albums or with adhesives
Cleaning photos with standard cleaning supplies
Mounted photos in cardboard, black paper albums and other acidic materials
Written description on back or front with pen
Use of scotch or masking tapes or similar adhesives to attempt repair

Best  practices

Use cotton gloves to handle photographs and handle them by the edges
Keep photos stored out of light, for display place under glass
Use acid free papers and sleeves for storage
Keep away from excessive heat and moisture
Protect photos from smoke, cooking fumes and other chemicals
Remove all photos from sticky albums where possible and store accordingly
If required, seek advice on cleaning photographs
Remount photos to remove them from acidic materials if possible
Unmounted and properly stored black and white photographs are the most stable
Store all wrapped or loose photographs in acid free containers

Digital Photography

Store originals (before touch up or cropping)
Ensure adequate back up on a regular basis
Print on archival medium with archival inks (not generic or refilled) should last 15-20 years
Digital photos printed with standard inkjet printers and paper are expected to last only ten years

Some sources of information

recollections: Australia's Conservation Website
Canadian Conservation Institute
Wilhelm Research (technical info)

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