What exactly does "Archival" mean?

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wiseowl

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I'm not after a dictionary definition, or any information about acid free, lignin free etc (although that would be useful). What I'd really like to know is time scale.

What's the current wisdom on print life, fiber/ rc, properly washed etc. unmounted and mounted using different methods, eg double sided tape, spray mount, tissue etc. How much of a difference does using archival board over normal board make. Are we talking years, decades or tens of decades before it would be an issue, or is it less than that.

Cheers

Martin
 

ann

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Here is a practical example from two photos that hang in my class room. One is mounted on archival museum board the other on cold press board. The cold press board is much thicker , for whatever that means. They were mounted the same year with the same materials, except the board type. THe cold press board is beginning to yellow, it is slight but nevetheless it is changing color. THe archival board is still the same color. The light source is the same, both under glass, etc. They are 22 years old.

SPray mounting is not healthy for your lungs or the environment.
 
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wiseowl

wiseowl

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Thanks George, it made interesting reading.

Ann, apart from the board discolouration has there been any effect on the print, or were you reffering to the print yellowing?

Martin
 

ann

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no, the board is changing shades, starting from the edges, it will eventually work it's way into the print.

Years ago i would take a print i was thinking about doing, make a quick print and mount it on cold press board, frame it and put it up some place where i could look at it every day. Then when i deceided what i was going to do i would make a new print with all the corrections, etc and then mount that on archival board.
I have a box full of the "cold press" version, some of which have not seen the light of day in years, the board color is shifting on those as well.
My experiences have not shown that to happen with archival board.
 

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wiseowl

wiseowl

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Harvinder Sunila said:
Archival means it's still around after you are long dead.

I have prints from my grandparents, all of whom are long gone but many of the prints, esp the B&W are still good. These were kept in a shoebox under the bed! Is that archival. (No, I know it's not.) Let me rephrase my question, by using ordinary mounts etc, how much life are we taking off the print, in real terms?

Martin
 

ann

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I don't know, however, i am sure about the color shift to the boards and for me that is not acceptable. Either for myself or for anyone that may purchase a print.
Spent too many years working to create successful negatives and prints to scrimp a few dollars on the presentation process.

However, that is going to be up to you to decide what works for your process.
 
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wiseowl

wiseowl

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I take your point about the board changing colour, yes that is imortant to the final presentation and yes it is up to me to decide what best suits my methods and requirements. However, to that properly I needed a better understaning of all the issues.

Thanks for your input, I will admit that the life of the mount was an issue I didn't give any consideration to initially.

Cheers

Martin
 

mikewhi

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I've always understood it to mean at least 100 years which is why color wasn't archival and thus discounted as a good art investment. I believe financial intersts are behind the drive towards archival standards. After all, if you want to sell prints at high prices, they need to last a long time. 'Moonrise' would not sell for over $100K if the print would not survive the buyer.

-Mike
 
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