-Photographs will fade in direct sunlight.
-Never laminate photographs. (This cannot be reversed).
-Do not put sticky tape on photographs.
-Never attempt to clean old photos by wiping with water. This will soften the emulsion and tear it.
-Use silica packets in boxes of photos to protect from moisture.
-Don’t put photos face to face as they may stick together.
-Generally, with photographs, the colder the storage, the longer the life.
-N.B. Before attempting any “repairs” on an original photograph consider potential damage. If in doubt, consult a conservator.
Dating family photographs.
Finding the photographer’s name is often useful in dating pictures,.
CDVs, in particular often have the photographer’s name and address on the back.
“The Mechanical Eye” by Alan Davies and Peter Stanbury (Oxford University press 1985) is a useful resource for accurately dating photographs
Today we take copying old photographs for granted but sometimes forget that it was a common practice from the earlier days of photography.
Copies are often less sharp than the original and lose detail in the highlights and shadows.
If there are any creases or scratches that do not appear to be on the surface, the print may be a copy of a photograph taken tens of years after the original.
Creases or tears that are not on the print but are part of the photo, show it is a copy. Often copy photographs show the border of the original, (usually white).
These are important as we are rapidly losing much of our architectural heritage to modern development. Also, they provide an important reference for how previous generations lived.