A Primer on Art Print Conservation

Permanence is an obsession of mine. If something won't last, it isn't worth it to me. Thus I make unalterable palladium prints made to last centuries or perhaps more; to be accurate, they should last as long as the paper they are printed on if proper methods are used for conservation. The purpose of this primer is to recommend optimal practices in regards to storage or display of a print; by following the guidelines below, it should last for many centuries:

- Ironically one of the things that can do the most damage to a photographic print is light. While light won't have much of an effect on the printed areas of a palladium print due to the unalterable nature of the technique, it will cause damage to the paper. Placing the print behind ultraviolet protection glass will largely negate this issue.

- Tape, adhesive and contact with any acidic materials should be avoided during the framing process. This can and will most certainly cause damage to the paper.

- Humidity can also damage the paper, causing mould and foxing. However, an environment that is too dry (below 30% humidity) can make the paper brittle and extremely fragile. Ideally you should try to maintain around 40-50% humidity while avoiding fluctuations of more than 5%.

- The ideal temperature for storing and displaying a print is about 20 °C, however that does not mean that the room needs to be kept at this temperature. There are methods of local temperature control (the same applies for humidity control) that can be used.

Reading this you might think that art print conservation is complicated and full of constraints. In a way it can be but please note that what I have described are ideal conditions meant to preserve a palladium print for generations to come. Failing to follow my conservation guidelines does not mean that the print will disintegrate in years to come, in fact the print might still be fine by the time your heir inherits it, but it will not, however, last throughout the ages. In the end it's up to you to decide whether you share my view that beautiful things should outlast one's own existence.