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Why do Old Print Photos Deteriorate?

It turns out that old print photos do not last indefinitely. Unfortunately, old print photos fade with time, leaving shadows and outlines where persons, faces, and companions once stood. Nobody is to blame. Storing old print photos properly can make them last longer, but they still won’t last forever. It's just the way it is. There are a variety of reasons why old print photos lose quality over time, and there are some things you can do to ensure that your photos last as long as possible. But the fact is that eventually, all old print photos will deteriorate to the point where they are no longer recognizable. This is a main reason why many people turn to digitalization for old print photos.

UV Rays and Old Print Photos

Keeping photos out of direct sunlight as much as possible is one of the best things you can do for their longevity. UV radiation exposure is the most common cause of photo deterioration. Photo-degradation is the term used to describe the process of pictures deteriorating as a result of exposure to sunshine. Basically, the UV rays in sunlight stimulate the polymeric elements that make up the colors in photographs. When the molecules in plastic get too stimulated by light, they begin to break down. This disintegration is terrible news for old print photos, and the pictures fade as a result.

Dust Particles and Old Print Photos

The sun isn't the only factor that may ruin your photos. Other factors might have an impact on the quality of your photos over time. While you may believe you have a clean home, pollutants can be found everywhere. Dust and chemicals, for example, are little micro-particles that can cause the molecules in your images to deteriorate over time. Smoke, cleaning chemicals, and dust can all cling to the surface of your old print photos, causing them to take on that old and faded look that everyone dreads so much.

Tape, Fungus and Old Print Photos

Tape, believe it or not, is another danger to the quality of your images. The glue that makes the tape stick may seep into pictures, causing color molecules to get jumbled. That's why it's recommended not to use tape to attach images when hanging, framing them or placing them in scrapbooks and photo albums.

Fungus is the last major cause of photo deterioration. Fungus is a serious issue when it comes to maintaining the sharpness of your photographs. Fungus damage differs from light exposure in that it does not cause the old print photos to degrade. Instead, it appears on the surface as large old brown splotches.

To summarize, UV rays, acid, particles, and fungus are the main causes of photo-deterioration. Because there are so many things that can lead to the loss of old print photos, many people turn to digitalization. This process ensures that even your oldest photos stay crisp, clear and ready for viewing by generations to come!

If you'd like to work with us, schedule your free 30 minute consultation with us here. We can't wait to meet you!



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