A Guide to Framing and Displaying Antique Photographs

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The 21st century is a world in which everyone can take photos instantly on their smartphones and send them to friends and family at the touch of the button. But producing photographs wasn't always so easy, and being in possession of antique photographs is a huge privilege. Older photographs may not have the sheen and high definition qualities of today's photographs, but they are packed full of personality and charm.

If you are lucky enough to possess old family photographs or you have purchased antique photographs from an antique shop or an auction, it's important to know how to frame and display these in the correct way so they are kept in the best possible condition, and so that all their beauty is showcased.

Framing materials are very important

When you frame an antique photograph, choosing the most appropriate materials is particularly important to preserve the quality of the photo. First of all, it's imperative that the glazing, typically either glass or acrylic, is UV resistant. When ultraviolet rays hit a photograph, photochemical action can permanently distort the image of a photograph.

You also need to carefully consider the materials that sit behind your photograph. Take advice from the Photographic Activity Test (PAT) to make sure that mats and boards that sit behind your antique photo are acid free and lignin free to preserve the image.

Choosing an actual frame

Once you have got the technicalities of framing materials out of the way, you can get to the more fun part of choosing an actual frame for the photo. Of course, a lot of this is going to hinge on personal taste, but, generally speaking, an antique photo is going to look its best inside a frame from the same period, so it's worth trawling antique stores and markets to find something that's a great match. If your photo has sepia tones, a warm, gold-coloured or brass frame will bring out those sepia notes, and black and white photographs tend to look better in aged silver frames.

Putting your photo on display

Now to actually display the photograph. Again, because ultraviolet rays can be very harmful, don't display your photo in a place that receives a lot of natural light, even if you think that it showcases the photograph really well. You could also get an art gallery to make a print of your photograph for you so that you can store the antique original and display a copy that looks just like the real thing.

Talk to a professional, such as Christensen Fine Art, for more information.