Film deteriorates quite quickly
The Wilhelm Imaging Research Institute is the worldwide leading independent research laboratory for film preservation. They have been conducting studies concerning the durability of film and printed materials under various storage conditions since 1995. In 2011, a long-term study was published (Logroño 2011), which investigated the longevity of a film’s life. The results of the research conducted by the world-renowned Research Institute give cause for worry:
Depending on film type and storage conditions, the first signs of film deterioration take place relatively soon, already apparent after only several years of storage.
Temperature and light are two key factors that influence longevity. Many film types are already damaged by storage conditions as simple as a room temperature of 20 degrees Celsius and exposure to natural daylight. Museums recognized this danger early-on and old paintings and other exhibits are now often displayed for only a few hours at a time.
Save your photographical Heritage
However even with ideal storage conditions, deterioration in image quality is only a question of time and only now is this fact beginning to sink in; the fact is that all these analog photos have to be transferred to a digital medium. We can only congratulate you, if you are a step ahead of the curve and have already made the digitization of your images a priority.
Photos act as witnesses of generations past and represent an important part of our cultural heritage, which we must do our very best to preserve, along with everything else that tells the story of our history and of our society. The transfer of knowledge and traditions is an integral part of human nature and one of the reasons why the human species has been so successful. Will we take up our responsibility and preserve these visual testimonials of our past for the future generations to come.