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A wall of family photographs.

Old family photographs aren't just an important link to bygone generations; they remind us of our own beginnings and of milestones in our children's lives. Recent pictures of a baby or grandparent, for example-can be equally evocative. Old or new, however, these pictures can give little satisfaction if they're stashed away.

Whether you're the designated family historian or simply have an interesting collection of snapshots, think about displaying photos for all to enjoy. The trick is finding inexpensive framing and a wall where photographs won't be exposed to the damaging effects of sunlight.

If you don't have a protected wall or are concerned about preserving a valuable photograph, you can have a photo store create a negative of the print, then make a new print for display. Because most of the cost goes toward producing a negative (a one-time expense), consider ordering extra prints as holiday gifts.

Reproducing those nostalgic prints

Reproducing an old black-and-white picture can yield startlingly good results, especially if the original isn't too faded and exhibits a broad range of gray tones between white and black.

The first step is creating a negative. Since the quality of the new prints depends in part on the size of the negative (the larger the better), consider making an investment in a 4-by-5 negative $7.50 to $14.50). Plan on spending $4 to $5 for a 35mm negative. Cost of prints runs $6 to $8 for a 5-by-7, $8 to 11 for an 8-by-10. (TO save you money, some labs will "gang shoot" three or four wallet-size originals on one 4-by-5 negative and then print each image individually.)

Printing from negatives

If you already have a negative for a black-and-white or color photograph, making prints is easy. Quantity color tabs (the kind found in discount stores) will make inexpensive enlargements from color negatives using an automatic process. A custom lab (look under Photo Finishing in the yellow pages) will charge more but will print each negative individually for more precise color rendition. Both will likely give you a price break on orders for multiple prints from a single negative.

If you have black-and-white negatives, you'll probably have to take them to a custom lab. if you decide to limit your display to black-and-white, the lab can make black-and-white prints from color negatives.

Printing from slides

Also fairly straightforward is making a color or black-and-white print from a slide, but you'll need to have a custom lab produce an internegative first. Again, the larger the internegative, the better the prints. For a color internegative, expect to pay $3 to $5 for 35mm format, and $13 to $14 for 4-by-5. A black-and-white internegative costs about $7.50 for 35mm, $15 for 4-by-5.

Framing your photographs

Once you have your prints, you can save time, effort, and money by skipping the matting process and finding a frame to fit the photo. (Matting is necessary, however, when framing old, valuable, or difficult-to-replace prints-to keep humidity from building up under the glass and damaging photographs. Be sure to use acid-free mats.) A custom lab can scale a print to fit an odd-size frame, or you can trim the photo to fit the frame.

Second-hand frames are often available cheaply. You can spruce them up with a coat or two of spray paint. Painting a collection of old frames a single color will help unify your wall. Glass suppliers and most hardware stores can cut replacement glass for old frames.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 1, 1990
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