the all-seeingeyeThreats to Photographs: Mechanical Damage

As far as surface damage to photographs goes, possibly the greatest damage is caused by photographs packed loosely into boxes so that they can slide back and forth over each other. Damage will also occur if you write on an envelope with a photograph inside, or on the back of a photograph with a ball-point pen. Pens, in general, should be avoided when working around photographs. Stray pencil marks can be erased, and there is less possibility of marks transferring from the back of one picture to the front of another. It is a common practice in rare book libraries not to allow pens into the reading rooms at all.

Dust and dirt can contribute to surface damage as well. This is especially true when photographs are loose in a box, but applies even when they are kept in individual envelopes. The pressure of the envelope will be enough to embed grit into the photograph.


Disclaimer: I'm neither a chemist nor physicist, I only play one on the web.

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