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Preserving Your Photographs

I have had a lot of questions lately about storing, in particular, photographs.
The bottom line is that photographic materials (in general) need to be kept in a neutral, cool, dark place. Light is the enemy when it comes to photographs, negatives and most media. To take it a step further, you can house your photographs in a neutral enclosure, such as a polyester L-Sleeve found at most archival materials suppliers. These clear enclosures make it easier to handle your photographs and look at the images without damaging the original any further. There are many plastics that are NOT archival, so be sure to do your research. Enclosing a photograph can keep it free from fingerprints, which can etch into the surface over time, depending on the type of photograph. Above all, wear your gloves when handling media, or any type of film.

For more research, if you are really into this, please check out the Image Permanence Institute’s website ( for very helpful, AND interesting, information.

Kate Blalack, WGC Archivist