Photographic prints are intended to be viewed and when looked after can remain in excellent condition for over a century. However, as they are paper-based they are prone to damage if mishandled.

Caring for a print

A print intended to have a long life should be processed by methods recommended for long-term stability. If necessary it can be retouched to eliminate blemishes. Prints that are going to be displayed should be mounted, framed and glazed to complement the image and protect it from deterioration. If not, it should be stored flat in a print storage box kept in a cool dry place.

Preparing prints for display

When preparing prints for exhibitions or displays, what is considered appropriate will depend on the content, intentions and display environment. Prints that might otherwise be framed and glazed may need to be printed in larger sizes and presented as flat panels. In such circumstances it is even more important to ensure that the methods and materials used will be fit for purpose. For example, fibre-based photographic papers are more difficult to hold flat than resin coated papers; and prints have been found to fade during an exhibition because they were mounted using an unsuitable adhesive.