Humidity – not just another number :-)

Many things in life amuse me, many you really do not want to know. But this last cold snap I got amused by of all things humidity….. or in my case lack of humidity!!!!
Humidstat to measure humidity
Humidistat © Paterson Photography Ltd. Lethbridge

Over the years of doing printing I have noticed that some papers respond to humidity differently. On top of that so do my printers and other materials. Back in film days humidity was not just nice it was required. To keep the dust down and to stop negatives from curling. With digital it is more of a help than a necessity so I have not been following it so closely lately. With the last cold snap I found that parts of my body were drying out. At the same time prints on my walls were curling.

How bad?

So I went out and bought a humidstat to check the humidity in the studio.  WOW was I shocked to see that it was 20% on a good day!!  So I went out and bought a spray bottle and brought out a cold mist humidifier. Along with a waterfall and fountain to get the level up.

By the time that I went home after 8 hours I was able to get the humidity up to a shockingly high 30%. Problem was the next day it dropped back to 20 or lower and I needed to start all over.   So now that the weather has warmed up a little how is the humidity? Without helping it I am at 30% in the morning. If I help it I can get it up to 40% by noon.   So why this post about another of my many quacks? Well not only does a higher humidity make a person feel better but it also helps with the longevity of prints, laminate, mounting and frames.  Many galleries will add humidity when dry and remove it when too damp. This way they can keep the humidity at the perfect level.

I am told is that 50% at 21C is the ideal. If your home or office does not do this your art work will be effected. Sometimes to the point of destruction if conditions are bad enough for long enough. I am not saying that you should invest thousands in a perfect environment for your art. But the next time you notice your art work curling, or the frame looking cracked, remember that it may have nothing to do with the manufacturer. It may have to do with the environment.

#photography #lethbridge #lethbridgephotographer
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