-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.


A Carte de Viste or “CDV”.

The Carte de Viste (or CDV) 1854

The CDV (or calling card), were small albumen prints, mounted on card.  They were invented by Andre Disderi, who received a patent in 1854.  The process allowed 8 negatives to be taken on one plate and contact printed. They came to Australia in 1959 with the photographer George Goodman. The cost was one shilling, a weeks wages at the time. For the family history researcher, CDVs provide a wealth of opportunities for accurate dating. CDVs often have elaborate graphic designs on the back.

Using the reference book “The Mechanical Eye”, by Alan Davies and Peter Stanbury  it is often possible to date a CDV to within a few years.


Cabinet Cards 1870’s

By the 1870’s photographers realised they could charge more for larger prints. The Cabinet card at 4.5 x 6.5 inches in size, was bigger than the CDV and less likely to have the photographers name on the back.

Cabinet cards were so called because they could be placed on a cabinet or side table.

Often collected in albums, cabinet cards and CDVs were a Victorian rage. They had ceased by 1905.




See our blog page for other interesting articles on photo preservation.

Historical Images

The State Library of Victoria has a large collection of historical images that can be downloaded from its website,

“Time out Melbourne” has a number of interesting vintage photographs of Melbourne. 

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.

St. Kilda Junction 1956

To discuss your photo restoration project, and for a free quote
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