Dangers and Your Vintage Photos

Vintage photos are not just those of 100 years in age but can include those only 15 years old. All are priceless and can not be done over again. You do have to preserve and protect all print photos. Digital images are a totally different category.

Some of the most dangerous happenings that can affect your vintage photos. First heat can accelerate the degradation of all photographic materials. Do not leave your albums uncovered exposed to direct sunlight. Store your photos in a reasonably cool place that is not exposed to sunlight. There can be a great deal of heat in an attic, garage or outdoor shed for example. Photos and negatives will fade in sunlight, with the stronger the light the faster the fading.

Second is touching the photos, try to NOT touch the photo surface. Everyone has some natural oils on their skin including fingertips. The answer is to avoid contact with the surface of your photos, or wear white cotton gloves. If you place photos in a plastic holder, make sure the manufacturer states it is safe for photos.

Third, covers about NOT using glue or tape to hold down photos in an album or for framing. Glue can permeate from the back to destroy a photo and sticky tapes become gluey and tacky as they age and can ruin photos. 

Fourth is do not write on the front or back of a photo, especially with an ink pen. Such writing will cause dents on the photos. Keep a separate listing and description of the photo.

Keep the photos and or albums in a bug-free / dust-free environment is to avoid the fifth danger. Albums should not be slacked a foot high, it will crush the photos. 

Check with a hobby shop, a photography shop or arts & craft store to get the proper acid-free albums, storage boxes, mounting and framing supplies to make sure those treasured photos last another hundred years. You do need to have photos scanned to make the image digital and save those copies but saving the original photo is the most important. 

Photos: Sunlight; wearing cotton gloves; 1890s photo; 1920s photo; 1950s photo and 1970s photo.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Historic Photos

Scanning Photos

Archives of Photos


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