Your child’s first step, a family get-together after years, the first foreign trip, your favorite artist, dearest friends, college days, and many such events that helped you step up to today and are a part of your being can only be relived with the help of few photographs that you might have clicked. Photograph is a time machine that helps you travel to your yesterday and experience the moments of happiness and sadness all over again. A photograph freezes a particular moment and preserves it in the frame of time for you to look at it whenever you wish to. But, this source of timeless memory is not itself immune to time and condition. You need to protect the photographs in order to preserve the memories that they hold within. With time and environment photos tend to fade and decay, washing out a part of your life. Therefore, preserving old photos using preventive methods is essential.
Preserving Old Photographs
- Light is the biggest enemy of photographs. Not only should they be kept away from light while getting developed, but even when they are fixed into a stable image they can get affected by light. Exposure to bright light can make the photographs to fade. Exposure to bright light accelerates the fading of a photo snap. Fading of photos depends on a number of factors. But, light is one factor from which you need to save your photograph. Make sure to store them in light proof boxes. Avoid placing pictures or hanging them where they can come in direct contact of sunlight.
- The life of a photograph depends majorly on the way it got processed. A poorly processed picture carries more damaging chemicals on them which will make them suffer the effects of chemical degradation faster than a properly processed picture. The old photographs can be reprocessed to get rid of the harmful chemicals but this process should be attempted only by experts.
- Paper used in making print is another source of causing chemical degradation in old photographs. If the paper used to develop print is too acidic, it may fall apart in time, decaying slowly from within. There are different sprays available which can be used to spray at the back of the photograph in order to slow down the decaying process.
- Photos can even pick up injurious chemicals from the environment, the air around them, other pictures and even the material they are stored in. therefore, it is advisable to store and preserve your photos in a safe material designed for archival storage.
- Temperature and humidity collectively can contribute towards the chemical degradation of your photographs. Temperature change can lead to the expansion and contraction of all the materials and photographs are no exception. Excessive low or high humidity and temperature can both lead to chemical reactions, hence destroying the photo prints by producing cracks on the image surface. Therefore, photographs should be stored in a place where the temperature is steady and not extreme as in an attic or basement. Proper storage materials will help limit the effects of changing climatic condition on your photographs.
- Photographs should also be saved against any physical damage caused to it in human hands. Physical damage to a photograph like bent corners, touch with greasy hands, folds and smudges can all damage the photograph taking away all the sweet memories from you. If left alone, photos can also reach their destiny in hands of children who can scribble on it, fold it or even tear it. Therefore, it is better to store the photographs in a proper place. You can even make ample amount of copies of your special photos and distribute it among your relatives and friends, so that it is available whenever you lose yours.
- Keep the photographs away from pests. Any number of pests can attack and damage your memorable collections. Therefore, all your photographs should be kept in a proper way in sealed boxes and in a moderate environment.