Why Do Photographs Deteriorate?Photographs are made of several layers: a top layer of colored gelatin, a layer of adhesive, and the photographic paper. Deterioration over time can affect each layer in different ways, resulting in a dull or discolored image. The last thing you want is to gather around the photos, only to discover they are in worse condition than the last time you reminisced over them! Here are the most common factors that can ruin your prized prints:
- Temperature and humidity are two of the biggest factors that can wreak havoc on your photographs. Humidity can cause mold to form on the gelatin layer, while fluctuating temperatures can cause the base to warp.
- Air pollutants can also harm your pictures. Be wary of cleaning products, oil-based paint, and other volatile chemicals. They should be stored away from your photo album.
- While temperature and humidity can be harmful, don’t forget about light. Fluorescent and ultraviolet light can quickly deteriorate the vivid colors of your prints.
- If a natural disaster strikes, be sure to check on your photo collection. A flood or a fire can destroy cherished pictures rapidly, so consider storing your valuable photos in a safe or other protective unit.