Saving the old photos you still have.

Mostly I blog about restoring your old photos but today I thought I’d tackle the subject of preserving the old images you still have.

There are four main conditions to follow, dry, dark, cool and free of dirt.

Preserve images cool, dry, dark, clean

Preserve images cool, dry, dark, clean

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Dry

I would guess this condition is obvious. You should keep an old photo in a moist free environment. Storing them in a dry room in the centre of the house where the temperature remains more constant. Dry means not in a damp cellar or in a steamy room in a cardboard box but in an under the stairs cupboard up on a shelf in a box or a box room. Do not store them directly under the water tank if you have one in the attic or loft. Disasters can happen and when you least expect it they could get ruined in the event of a burst.

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Dark.

Sunlight has always been the enemy of photos. The UV rays damage the colour pigments and bleach out papers and dyes. It can turn the manufactured plastic papers hard and brittle. If you want to keep them in great condition as long as possible store them in acid-free albums. if you have a large image, introduce some acid-free tissue paper between each one and keep flat.

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Cool

Keeping images too hot or too cold or fluctuations of these will lead to brittle, curled or flaking photos. Repeated hot cold temperatures over the years makes the photo expand and contract, with eventual splitting or flaking of the surface details. Heat does strange things to negatives too.

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Clean

Also, an obvious condition so store your photos somewhere clean. There is no sense in chucking them into a dusty drawer. Clean the drawer first! If your photos are already dirty its best not wipe them with anything damp. A light dusting with a super fine paintbrush or lint-free cloth would do. If you feel they are still too dirty then just get in touch with us and we can see if we can help digitally clean them up for you.

For more reading on the subject of preserving your old photos, you could visit the British Library data sheets for photographic preservation now help on the web archive they have a wealth of information and free downloadable PDF documents on caring for and preserving old photos.

 

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