Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Preserving Family Photographs

My “Grandmotherly Love” photograph of January 26th was damaged by years of neglect. I suspect it was put into a magnetic album with adhesive pages and stored in the basement.

Photography is a hobby of mine that seems to run in my family. My brother and his wife are hobbyists too though at a much more advanced level. Dick is my go-to-guy for all my photographic needs.

One thing I know for sure is that people neglect their photographs! I have received photos that are scratched, torn, written on, spilled on, and moldy! Beware of the moldy ones and store them separately for mold can spread to your treasured images! These photogrpahs have been stored in basements and attics where temperature and humidity fluctuate dramatically. My husband’s family lost many of their treasured photographs in a flooded basement.

For those who have photographic prints, might I suggest making notations gently on the back of the photographs. These quick notes might help some future family historian. I have a stack of unknown photographs just waiting to be recognized. I fear they will remain unknown.

 In a nutshell:

·      Please do not store your precious photographs in basements, attics or any place where temperature and humidity dramatically change.
·      Please do not use magnetic albums with adhesive pages!
·      Please identify your photographs by gently writing in pencil on the back of the image.
·      Please store your photographs in polypropylene sleeves and acid free/lignin free boxes or albums. A stable environment is the best storage location such as an interior closet.
·      Please make copies of your image when framing. Store the original for future generations.

Maureen Taylor is a great source for learning about photographic preservation. I have several of her books including Preserving Your Family Photographs.  You can learn more about this photo detective by visiting her website at

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Now this is the type of blogging I was hoping you would do. You show your personal photos yet give wonderful tips. Love it, love it, love it.