Interesting framing suggestions for an old photo?
January 28, 2012 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I recently bought an old black and white photo of Albert Einstein delivering a lecture in Berlin. Its 17cm x 12cm (about 7"x5"). I want to have it near my desk. What are my options for framing it or preserving without damaging ir in any way? Open to very creative suggestions.

This is the photo. Taken in 1932. It's possibly the last public lecture he gave before moving to the US.
posted by vizsla to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
Best answer: I do not know where you are located but here maybe a quirky option:
* do a high-res scan of the photo
* have it done by a photo center like Costco where your options are unlimited in having an interesting piece

I am weird enough to have your photo made into a wall size piece so it seemed that I was in the audience on my terminal. YMMV.
posted by jadepearl at 1:43 PM on January 28, 2012

Best answer: Easy option: go to a frame store and ask them to frame it using glazing with UV filtration and archival-quality matting.

Slightly harder, cheaper option: purchase the glazing, matting, and hinging tape yourself, with the borders of the matting chosen so that the outer edges will be a standard size, and then display the photo using any frame with your matting and glazing.

Displaying a reproduction is a good idea, too, but I presume that's not what you're interested in.
posted by deadweightloss at 2:03 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As deadweightloss says, the crucial thing here is the nature of the matting board. Whatever else you do, you want it matted with acid-free archival board. You also want to make sure that any adhesives used to attach the photo to the mat are acid free and removable. Getting museum glass with UV filtration is also nice (though ups the cost considerably) and is certainly essential if the photo will be exposed to light levels you could read comfortably at or higher. Your best option is simply to go to a good professional framer who can discuss a wide variety of styles with you. You might get a recommendation from a local photography gallery for a framer with a lot of experience dealing with photographs.
posted by yoink at 2:12 PM on January 28, 2012

Best answer: It's on a cover of a book, here. If's an original print, I'd have a scan made and frame that, and then store the actual photo.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:20 PM on January 28, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the help. Will probably make the scan as jadepearl and Ideefixe suggests. I should have mentioned that it has type-writing on the back describing the photo. I'm not sure how adhesives would affect that?

Ideefixe : I believe it is an original print. At least I was told it was. I hadn't realised it was used for that book. Would love to know more about it's history if that was possible.
posted by vizsla at 3:58 PM on January 28, 2012

Response by poster: Incidentally, a second-hand copy of that book, "Albert Einstein: Akademie-Vortrge" with the photo on the cover, costs as much as the photograph itself!
posted by vizsla at 4:05 PM on January 28, 2012

It's totally worth it to get a pro to help with either display OR storage advice.
posted by desuetude at 9:58 PM on January 28, 2012

I should have mentioned that it has type-writing on the back describing the photo. I'm not sure how adhesives would affect that?

I used to work in the prints, drawings and photographs dept. of a major US art museum. Works of art, frequently with important notations or signatures on the back were routinely framed. They created hinges with japanese paper and starch to connect the top of the print to the backboard. Then you could carefully, but easily "flip" the photograph or whatever up to look at the verso when unframed. It was also completely reversible without causing any damage to the object. I would think that you could get this done at a high quality frame shop, but I have no direct experience to confirm this.
posted by kaybdc at 10:49 AM on January 29, 2012

Oh and here's a link regarding the matting process described above from the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
posted by kaybdc at 10:51 AM on January 29, 2012

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