Long lasting photos and frames
April 14, 2012 2:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations on long lasting photo prints and frames.

My father passed away recently. We are arranging for him to be cremated, and the ashes will be stored in an urn in a glass fronted niche in an indoor space.

They allow a framed photo to be in the niche, but the frame cannot be wood nor plastic since they degrade over time. I am looking for advice on how to get a picture and frame that will last as long as possible.

My questions are:

1. How can I get a high quality print the photo that will last the longest? Any recommendations for which company or technology to use?

2. Where can I get a picture frame that's made to last? The niche is in a room with a skylight, so UV damage is going to be a problem over time. I understand that some frames come with UV protecting glass. Picture frames come with some cardboard to keep the picture pressed against the glass. Does this need to be acid free? Is there a better alternative?

If there are companies that will print the photo and mount it in the right kind of frame, that would be great.

posted by DrumsIntheDeep to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sorry for your loss.

The man with the answers for photo longevity is Henry Wilhelm, he and his company have been testing this kind of thing for over 40 years.


There is a lot of technical information on that site, and also a few free download white papers in PDF format which can give some direction on this. You can also Google Henry Wilhelm to find some interviews with him.

I could give some very general tips, but they would come mostly from his work.
posted by caclwmr4 at 3:20 PM on April 14, 2012

Best answer: On review, that was not a good direct answer, and I apologize. You can search "archival printing" on Google and find places that will do this. Here is one, Supreme Digital. I have no connection to them but I have seen prints they have made. What they offer as "Giclee" prints should be as good as you can get at this time for an archival digital color print for display. You could call them to discuss their available options and they can take care of everything. The cost is reasonable, I think.

As for the frame, a metal frame with UV blocking glass and a non-acid back insert and perhaps more glass in back should be very good.

Color prints made and framed that way should last with minimal unnoticeable fading, in indirect sunlight, for well over 100 years, and much longer in low light. For safety, make a second print at the same time and store it in total darkness.
posted by caclwmr4 at 9:33 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for your help caclwmr4!

I appreciate the links and recommendations.
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 10:51 AM on April 15, 2012

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