Once you acquire an archival photograph, you want to protect it. The first step is to understand what you have:
- Archival ink
- 100% cotton rag archival paper
Your photograph is packaged with archival materials (glassine, or other translucent protective wrap) to protect it during transportation. The tube, outer carton, and other packaging is intended only for transport and not long-term storage. You should frame your artwork or transfer it into appropriate long-term storage within a few weeks.
Protect Your Artwork
Photographs are sold unframed due to to give you control over presentation and greatly reduces the cost of packaging, shipping and insurance.
When your artwork arrives, I recommend taking the unopened tube to a professional framer. Your local frame shop will be able to help you choose a mat and frame that suits your personal style. Because the prints are shipped rolled in a tube, your framer must flattened them prior to matting and framing. This can be accomplished by gradually unrolling them, with the glassine (translucent paper they are packed in) remaining on top. Place flat, smooth weights (e.g. books) on the glassine as the print is unrolled to keep it flat.
In addition to enhancing the presentation, the frame and glass will seal the artwork from possible contamination. Here are my suggestions for framing:
- Frame: 1 to 1½ inch wide black matte/satin MDF or wood
- Mat: 8-ply white museum board
- Backing: acid-free foam board
- Glazing with 99% UV protection (prints up to 36 inches: glass; over 36 inches: acrylic)
- A wire hanger and bumpers on the back allow for level hanging with two wall-hooks
Choose a frame shop that uses materials that are archival, beautiful, and acid-free for the protection and enjoyment of the artwork. Use the list above to start the conversation with your framer, who will also provide expert consultation and specific advice.
Choosing a Local Framer
Choosing a frame shop is a personal decision, but one that can be daunting for the uninitiated. If you're looking for a framer for the first time, here are some recommendations:
- I prefer owner-operated shops instead of chains.
- Expect to pay for, and receive, quality. Don't be shy about asking for a quote (see specifications above as a starting point.)
- The shop should be organized, well maintained, and visually pleasing.
- Look for museums, galleries, and other prominent clients listed on the frame shop's web site.
If you in the US and would like your artwork framed before delivery, you can order from my Artfinder Portfolio with your choice of framing. Ordering a framed photograph may make sense if no frame shop is available at the artwork's destination or simply to indulge in convenience.
For works on paper such as this, a climate controlled environment is a must. Unheated or unairconditioned locations can damage artwork or allow gaps in the framing which may allow insects or contaminants to harm the artwork. Museums typically maintain a temperature of 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit/20-22 Centigrade and a relative humidity of 45-55%. Excessive humidity (70% and above) can support growth of harmful mold and bacteria.
Your home may not meet these exacting standards, and that’s okay. The more consistent the environment, the better. Avoid hanging art above radiators or space heaters.
Direct sunlight is harmful to artworks; hang it in the shade. Artificial lights are fine, but avoid continual, close fluorescent or halogen bulbs because these emit higher levels of damaging UV (ultra-violet) light.
If you do not frame the artwork, make sure it only comes in contact with archival materials.