May 21, 2020
Last week in the midst of a week-long power and internet outage following not one but two rare storm systems — first a derecho and then a wake low, the kids, the dog, and I escaped 90 miles out of town to my mom’s home up in Sewanee. I think we packed enough to move in for a month but ended up coming home after just two days once it looked like everything was back to normal.
Our quick trip up to the house did give me the opportunity to take some photographs of a very old family portrait my mom has hanging on the wall of the dining room. I’m not exactly sure who that is in the photograph, but I know she’s one of my ancestors. And even though the photograph predates color film, and I know her blue eyes were hand colored on the print, I am still struck that they’re the same crystal blue color as my daughter Charlotte’s eyes. This old family heirloom photograph is what I inevitably think about whenever I use words like archival and heirloom when describing the work I create for you because I hope that some day your great-great-great granddaughter can look at the portrait I created for you and see that you have the same eyes or smile.
While there are specific elements that must be in place for a printed image to be archival including the paper and pigments and, if framed, even the mat board and glass, at the end of the day the day what you need to know about archival images is that they are created to last just like that heirloom portrait my mom has hanging in her home. Archival equals lasting.
We’ve all had that experience of pulling out old photographs — possibly printed years ago at the one hour drug store lab — to find them faded and discolored. In contrast your archivally printed and framed photographs can become life-long treasured possessions because they will look just as beautiful decades from now as they do the day you get them. Those elements that go into ensuring that a photograph is archival means it takes longer and costs more to produce, but it’s hard to put a price tag on something that quickly becomes priceless.
Side Note: If you are anything like me and you love to know ALL THE DETAILS I’m happy to go deep with you and chat more about archival photographs and framing. Shoot me an email or comment below and we can set up a time to chat.