What could be the reason behind a 50 year old photo inside a glass frame turning black slowly?

 

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  • 1 month ago

    the photo decays from dust or something

  • Alan
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Photographic prints made 50 or so years ago are metallic silver images coated on paper using a gelatin binder (glue). An image is formed via a chemical process that precipitates tiny specks of metallic silver distributed in proportion to the amount of exposing light. In other words, the black & white image is shaded based on how much silver has been deposited in any unit area. 

    The black & white photographic image, when properly processed is long lasting. The archrival qualities of this gelatin / silver image are greatly dependent on the lab technician’s attention to detail following the steps of the developing process. We are talking about “fixing” and washing the print paper after developing. “Fixing” is treating the image with a sodium thiosulfate solution used to remove unwanted salts of silver. This is followed by a water rinse that rids residual chemicals from the print paper. 

    If these two finishing steps are not performed to completion, contaminates remain imbedded in the paper.The finished black & white print has many enemies, sulfur being the worst. Sulfur residue, due to improper washing and/or sulfur fumes in the air due to coal burning, or sulfur residue in the photo frame or its components, attack the silver based image. In other words, the silver tarnishes eventually destroying the image.

    if this image is precious to you, send it out to a photo lab and have a copy made. Copying techniques can be employed that will mitigate the ageing process. Additionally, old tarnished black & white images can be chemically treated so that the image is enhanced. I advise having a copy made by modern techniques that digitize the image rendering it everlasting.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Nothing lasts forever.

  • Sumi
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Is it color or B&W?

    Generally when a photo turns colors like magenta, or in your case turn black it's due to bad chemistry used to develop the paper.  Specifically if the fixer was not of the proper strength (either due to improperly mixing the chemicals or more like due to the fixer being exhausted) then you will definitely have issues like what you're experiencing.

    Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about it now other than having it scanned and paying a digital artist to Photoshop the image back to a better state.  If you have the negative, then simply get it re-printed.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Ask Oscar Wilde.

  • 1 month ago

    Mold and/or decay 

  • 1 month ago

    It shows that the photograph was not properly 'fixed' in the developing process.  The image is made up a silver salts that react to light by going dark. The chemical process known as 'fixing' the finished photo stops that process but, if it was not properly fixed, the silver salts continue to darken when exposed to light. To preserve the photo, it should be shielded from light and heat. The best option may be to re-photograph it to create a digital image.

  • 1 month ago

    The chemicals and pigments are degrading over time.

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