Photographs record our daily lives and special events. Seeing a picture often brings back memories, as well as feelings, thoughts and emotions. When our most special moments are recorded they become treasured family keepsakes. These keepsakes need to be well protected in order to survive the test of time and be able to be enjoyed for the next generations. Properly storing and caring for your photographs will prevent damage caused by natural elements. Often photographs are placed in boxes or containers and forgotten about.
Attics, garages and basements are common places for them to be placed, but are the most damaging locations. Photos can become brittle when they are exposed to varying extreme temperatures. Because of insulation problems and lack of temperature control in attics, garages and basements they are especially susceptible to damage produced by light, heat, cold and humidity. Rodents and insects are also possible threats. Taking proper precautions will prevent these problems. Storing photographs properly is the most important factor to protect them.
Acid free photo books, pages and boxes are the best storage option. When scrap booking memories, it is also important to use acid free products for gluing, securing or writing. Photographs should not be written on in ball point pens, as the ink with deteriorate the photo after time, if writing on the back of the picture is necessary, use a pencil and write softly. Other damaging effects occur from handling the photograph incorrectly. Oils from hands can transfer to photos and damage them also.
When handling photographs, wash hands thoroughly and do not use lotions or creams which can transfer onto the photo. Handle photographs by the edge and if they are especially old or fragile, wear white gloves when working with them. Other than storing them in acid free containers, they should be kept in bedrooms or other rooms that are temperature controlled and stored off the floor where water damage could effect them should there be a problem. Old photographs require particular care.
Because they are family keepsakes, often rare and impossible to replace there are several precautions to take to safeguard them. It is not recommended to display original photographs. Make copies instead and display those as light can damage them.
Extra copies should also be made to place with other family members. These are possible replacements should a personal or natural disaster occur such as a fire or flood. Photographs can also be scanned and saved on a computer and a compact disc.
More than one method should be used to protect the photo from permanent loss. Copies of the Cd's can also be given to family members as a possible safe guard. Negatives are often regarded as a nuisance and their care is neglected. Remember that negatives are the original photograph and perhaps, the most important one to take care of. Negatives should be stored in photo safe materials marked as such.
Organized and labeled negatives that are protected are easy to use for development and will be preserved indefinitely. Special photographs should be developed professionally due to the difference in quality of chemicals and processing. Professionally developed photographs will stay nicer longer and will not fade or deteriorate as instant printing or hour printing copies will If proper measures are taken to protect photographs they will survive decades and centuries. If they are treated carelessly, they will be lost and the moments they captured will be forgotten. Family history accuracy is directly effected by the record of ancestors, their homes and lifestyles.
So much can be gained by seeing them and their lives, not just merely reading about them. We are so much a product of those we descended from and seeing who they are helps us understand ourselves, just as our descendants seeing who we are will help them know their past and who they are.
Rob Daniels enjoys photography as a hobby and manages content at Future Photo http://www.future-photo.com and is a photographer for the stock photo website at Photo Wizard http://www.photo-wizard.net