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Posted by James Maynard – November 14, 2012 browse all

The History of Photo Storage

Custer, Will Jones, Forsyth, Bown, etc.

There are moments that are captured in photographs which can never be repeated again; sometimes a photo is all we have left of a loved one who has passed – some pictures tell a story in their composition and bring back memories years after they occur.

For that reason, people have done everything they can to preserve photos, with some ideas and methods being far superior to others. Storage of photographs has come a long way since the early days of the mid-nineteenth century, when photography first began to gain popularity.

Around the time of the Civil War, the first photo albums began to make their appearance. They were largely well-constructed tombs or leather and cloth, often ornately decorated with gold and porcelain latches and knobs. The pages of these albums was constructed of card stock, on top of which was glued a piece of paper with a center window cut out of it. When a photograph was slipped between the two, the image showed through the window in the paper.

Lulah Lake, Lookout Mountain.

As the Twentieth Century dawned, the paper on which photographs were printed became heavier and sturdier. This increased the popularity of photo albums, and more people began to store their photographs. However, the albums at this time used card stock, paper and ink which were destructive to the photos they held, and they began to fall out of favor among serious collectors and photography aficionados.

There are so called “magnetic” photo albums which are quite common today and they should be avoided at any cost, as they will damage photos quickly.

The current method of storing physical photographs among people who are interested in preserving their photos for future years is to store them in acid-free paper sleeves, These sleeves should also be free of lignin.

Plastic enclosures can be used if they are made from pure polypropylene, polyester or polyethylene. They should also be coating-free. Never use PVC enclosures – not only do they produce acids which can damage your photo, they will also leave them with a funny, new-car-like smell.

The first scanners started making (poor) digital copies of photographs in the late 50′s, and those image files were saved to volatile memory (until the power went off!), tape or other individual back-up system. However, saving photos on individual tapes, computers were cumbersome and could easily break down, losing the photos forever.

Next was the age of disks, when photos (along with every other type of file) was saved to computer disk. But these computer could not hold much information, and the quality of the photos that could be preserved in this way was poor. Also, having dozens or hundreds of disks could prove to be a messy, inefficient way to store photographs, particularly for years.

From the earliest days of the internet, pictures have been transferred online from one person to the other. As long as these digital photographs stayed on a server and the file remained uncorrupted, the photograph was preserved – an early form of cloud storage!

Today, serious photographs depend on online photo storage and cloud preservation methods for their artwork.

In 2010, Gerard Murphy and his business partner Andy Young formed Mosaic Archive in an effort to provide photographers with a versatile photo storage and backup system that will provide security to those moments we cherish in our digital photo collection.

Online photo storage allows you to preserve your memories for ages, so that you can go out and make more memories and take more photographs.