Photo Storage

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Photo Storage

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Nov 6, 2008, 7:03pm

Hi There,

I have some old family photos I'd like to make sure are preserved correctly. A while back I met a photo archivist who mentioned that he kept old photos in clear polyethylene (sp?) sheets. These sheets are photo graphically inert and pass P.A.T. Does anyone know where I can get something like this?

Nov 7, 2008, 10:27am

Nov 9, 2008, 6:58pm

Both of these have "benign" archival quality polyester enclosures for photos and slides. I think Gaylord calls them Melinex.

Nov 14, 2008, 2:15pm

Thank you both for the suggestions!

May 25, 2009, 5:39am

Please may I intrude on this thread to enquire what, if anything, is being done to preserve whatever value there is in the current avalanche of digital imagery? The world as a whole is acquiring so many visual images (still and moving) that it must be impossible to keep everything, so:

Are there ways of maximising the archival value of what is saved?

How can we ensure survival of the 'most useful'?

How can images be linked with explanatory and 'background' descriptions of what is visible?

How can people be motivated to enhance the archival value of images, and do what's needed to preserve them?

At least in the 'old days' of photography, each image was intrinsically precious because of the time and skill in its creation, but even so, plates were (and are being) lost. Even though modern image acquisition creates mostly dross, the trend away from making survivable paper copies means that we may be in danger of having even less material from the current era than from those times. How much are we relying on newspapers and photographic agencies? Are these optimal in an archival survivability sense?

May 25, 2009, 1:57pm

To the OP:

Those sheets are fine for most photos, but if you have very old photos (19th century to early 20th century) there may be some chipping on the surface of the picture. If there is, you may want to reconsider the enclosure sheets, because they can get static electricity in them, so that when the sheets are opened and closed, or if the photos move around in them, it can contribute to the chipping.

If the photos are old, but not THAT old, you'll be fine.

May 25, 2009, 2:02pm


I think that rather than focusing on preserving the file, the focus might have to be on the metadata. If things make it to the internet, they have a way of sticking around, especially because they can be easily copied -- even without consent of the original creator -- and, as we say, Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe. So, things will be there, but insuring their integrity and chain of custody, and making them findable with metadata is where it's at.

This is, of course, only one answer.