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History, Conservation, and Repair The history of photographic prints, and how best to care for and repair them.

Mold

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  #1  
Old 11-26-2005, 06:01 AM
mdavis mdavis is offline
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Exclamation Mold

I did a quick search for "mold" on this forum and didn't come up with much of an answer, so I'll throw this out.

I have a large, commercially printed photo hanging on the wall in my bedroom. It is behind UV glass and a relatively dry environment. I have no idea what paper was used. It is about 12 years old and is a portrait with very dark to black background and clothing. I was cleaning the glass the other day and noticed small specks and dots of mold beginning to form on the surface of the photo. Is there a safe method of removing these without damaging the print or potential permanence? Another portrait (my two daughters) hangs along side with no apparent damage.
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Old 11-28-2005, 08:13 AM
Cassidy Cassidy is offline
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Different papers, different properties.... I'd maybe consult an expert, else, try to scan and repair. We have several paintings/photos that have mold spores and once they are there, they are virtually impossible to remove much less safely. If it is mold, you can be less accommodating by placing the picture in a much dryer, warmer area to inhibit growth however, external walls and windows often lure damp.
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Old 11-29-2005, 07:38 PM
mdavis mdavis is offline
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Scanning would be a possibility, although I'd have to scan it in sections on my Epson 4870, then merge them.

The mold is barely visible. Just looking for a preventative solution. Thanks for the reply.
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Old 11-29-2005, 09:33 PM
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Photo678 Photo678 is offline
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depending on the paper, a wash in a fix solution and dry might do the trick.....but again, you really need to find out what the paper is
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  #5  
Old 12-04-2005, 01:38 PM
mdavis mdavis is offline
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I'll try to disassemble the frame and see if the paper is watermarked on the back.
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  #6  
Old 12-11-2005, 02:30 PM
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Sally Jacobs Sally Jacobs is offline
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Destroying & Preventing Mold

Please do not underestimate mold or the damage it can cause. I've been working in archives for over ten years, and in a used bookstore for seven years before that, and I've seen what it can do. It destroys photographs, books, art, etc. It’s also a real health threat, especially for people with respiratory problems.

But the most evil thing about mold is that you think it’s gone or that you've destroyed it –- but any spores that you've missed (even dried out, inactive ones) will re-bloom as soon as the temperature and humidity levels are high enough.

Here are some quick tips:

*Kill it.* There are chemicals that will kill mold spores, but unfortunately these chemicals will also destroy your photographs, film, etc. In the case of photographs, you'll have to inactivate the mold with more gentle methods (see below). Please be sure to clean frames, slide carousels, scanning equipment, shelves, walls, etc. with a mold and mildew killing solution such as Clorox, or X-14. Inactive mold spores can spread to any item in direct contact, so this is an important step.

*De-activate it.* If you brush a spot and it smears, it's active. If it's powdery and dry that means it's inactive. Freezing, air drying, and exposure to UV light are all methods that will inactivate mold. But light can also cause fading, so don't leave materials in direct light for more than an hour.

Once it's inactive you need to either vacuum it up or wipe it off. Don’t vacuum indoors unless you have a HEPA filter (otherwise you will just spread the spores to other materials inside). If you use cloth rags to wipe off the mold, change them often and be sure to wash them in hot water and bleach after use.

*Isolate it.* As an extra precaution, items that have been infected with mold should be isolated from the rest of your collection. Isolation is a good idea because the spores will literally infect other items. Put them in their own special box (or boxes if we're talking about a large outbreak).

*Prevent further outbreaks.* Mold loves a warm, moist environment. Don’t give mold what it loves! Store your photographs in areas that have air conditioning and a dehumidifier during warm, humid weather. Make sure your dehumidifier has a hose so the water drains continuously. Basements, attics and garages are not good locations to store items you value. Fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels are bad even without the threat of mold.

More Info: There's a great pamphlet called “Invasion of the Giant Mold Spore,” and it's available for free online:
http://www.solinet.net/preservation/...cfm?doc_id=122

Good luck!

-Sally

Sally J. Jacobs
Archivist
sally@jacobsarchival.com
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  #7  
Old 12-13-2005, 07:46 PM
mdavis mdavis is offline
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Excellent reply! Thank you!
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Old 12-27-2005, 07:10 AM
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Sally Jacobs Sally Jacobs is offline
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Smile You're welcome!

I have to keep myself in check when I discuss mold because I tend to rant. My family knows better than to mention it around me.

I'm delighted to help!

Sincerely,
-Sally
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  #9  
Old 12-27-2005, 09:16 AM
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byRo byRo is offline
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Sally, it's real nice to have an expert on these subjects around here.
Thanks!

Though I never thought that I'd spend a lunchtime reading about mould!

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