The careful storage of old (and not so old) photographs is really important to protect them from the risk of damage and ruin. Photographs stored loose in a box or a drawer can be bent or creased but even photographic prints kept in albums or frames can be slowly deteriorating.
Photographs are easily damaged by exposure to sunlight or by being stored in damp or humid conditions. More modern colour images are markedly less stable than black and white ones and the colour often degrades or fades over quite a short period of time.
Surprisingly, one of the most frequent ways that we can accidentally damage photographs is by storing them in albums that contain plastic. The 'magnetic' or self stick albums that were so fashionable in the 1980s are very damaging to photographs, as are the cheaper plastic photo sleeves that contain PVC. Chemicals in the plastic react with the photographs causing rapid deterioration.
Although it is great for the family historian when a relative has carefully annotated a photograph, the pen used to write on the back of a print can also be a source of damage. The ink in many pens can be acidic or contain solvents that can leach through to the paper to the image itself.
In addition, the pressure needed to write on the back of a picture with a pen can often result in an impression being seen on the image from the front.
The best advice would be to use a soft (6B) graphite pencil to write on the back of photographs, although on modern resin-surfaced prints you may need to use a wax (china marker or chinagraph) pencil.
Many families have old albums of mixed photos, often undated and with subjects unidentified. As time passes, the dating and identification of family photographs can become increasingly difficult and photographs held by one branch of the family are effectively 'lost' to other branches. Scanned images can be much more easily shared allowing the generations to 'pool' their knowledge.
Waymark Genealogy can scan images from a variety of sources - photographic prints, slides or negatives - to produce digitised images in your choice of TIFF (lossless but file sizes are larger) or JPEG format. These can be saved onto a memory stick for sharing more easily.
In one hour, both sides of approximately 25 loose photographs can be scanned, cropped and saved at a resolution most appropriate to the size of the original format. For photographs in albums the process will, of necessity, be much slower in order to avoid causing damage to the original images.
Information written on the reverse of the photograph, or in the album, can be added to the electronic image as meta data (key words) to allow for easier searching and identification.
Please ask for further information and a estimate of the time needed for your family photograph project.
£15 per hour, plus postage cost to return your photographs