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Photo's On Canvas: How Long Will They Last

May 28, 2008
At some point most photographers consider how long their printed pictures will last. As we think about this point we can see how this thought originates at the heart of photography, after all when we take a picture we are trying to preserve a moment in time. We are creating a remembrance of something that will never be exactly the same. In view of this expressed thought when we print our images we want them to keep their visual integrity. Yes, we want them to look as good as they did the day they where printed 100 years from now and longer.

Realistically is this possible and how can we determine how long photo's and specifically in this article photo's on canvas will last? As a consumer this question becomes important especially when we are parting with money in exchange for prints.

To answer these questions there are a few variables we must consider.

We must appreciate that not every one is going to display their images under the same conditions. Some will display their image framed with glass, others will without glass. Some will hang them in rooms with bright lights, some in areas of there home or office that get sunlight for part of the day. Still, others will hang them in areas with high humidity such as bathrooms. All of these scenarios have a bearing on the longevity of a photo on canvas. In light of this we realize that applying "Display Permanence Ratings" to an image that we are going to hang in a given area, will give us not an exact, but general idea of how long that image will last. The determining factors are not just the ink, canvas, sealer, ext. although these are important, equally important is the environment the image will be displayed in.

The company that has really pioneered the most excepted tests for measuring displayed print longevity is Wilhelm Imaging Research Inc. The expression "Display Permanence Ratings" refers to a standard of tests that show the longevity of prints. This company is not a manufacturer of imaging products but is a third party research company which allows them to be more objective and non partial when rating print permanence. Their tests take into consideration such factors as light-fastness humidity-fastness ozone-fastness as well as other factors. Their research has shown that quality inks, combined with quality canvas, printed on a quality printer and finally sealed with a quality sealer can produce photo canvas prints that will last anywhere from 60 to 142 years without "noticeable fading". Some of the constant features of these test environments are that the light is 12 hours a day at an exposure brightness of 450 Lux The temperature being 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 60% humidity. It is of great value to know that many household display areas are similar to this description of these test environments.

Information like this is invaluable to both Print Professionals and consumers.

No doubt many would agree that it is the responsibility of the print professional to be educated about such things.
The canvas chosen by a print shop should be archival. The company that manufactures the canvas should stand by there product with a guarantee that their canvas will out last the inks used to print on them.

The inks too should be archival, industry tested like Epson Ultra Chrome K3 inks.

Finally the sealer should encapsulate the ink protecting it from ozone as well as having UV protecting qualities. It should also be water resistant if not water proof. The reason for such a high standard for the sealer is because at present I am using a sealer that is so amazing I have literally taken a canvas print sealed with it and put it under a running faucet for ten seconds. The water just beaded and rolled off with no visible effect to the print.

So then a company that has done their homework, and strives to produce the best product they possibly can. should be able to say to their clients with confidence "under reasonable conditions your photo on canvas will last 100 years."
About the Author
ZaZaGallery - Put your photos on canvas and be the buss in your community. Our fine art prints are gallery wrapped using the finest canvas and inks to create a museum grade art piece.Our product is unique so join the buss and visit us by clicking pictures on canvas Thank you, Hugh Parker.
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