Spotlight Organization: Aardenburg Imaging and Archives

Written by Mark Rogers

Frame Destination is passionate about art display and framing on every level – from framing your favorite family photos at home to providing the perfect framing supplies and transportation materials for gallery shows and art sales. While Frame Destination’s day-to-day focus is on offering consumers the best framing materials and Made in the USA frames available, we also take the time to work with other organizations in the art and framing world to help advance the industry and its offers as a whole.

One of the organizations Frame Destination is a proud member of is Aardenburg Imaging and Archives (AaI&A). This group is dedicated to advancements in digital printmaking and the preservation of prints and photographs. Frame Destination wants your prints and photos to look as good as possible and be properly preserved while on display or in storage (that’s why we sell archival quality mat boards and museum quality storage boxes). As an extension of our efforts to help you preserve your art work, Frame Destination donates framing supplies to AaI&A for framed longevity testing.

Here’s more about Aardenburg Imaging and Archives and the work they’re doing.

Aardenburg Imaging and Archives

Founded by Mark McCormick-Goodhart in 2007, AaI&A provides an opportunity for photographic and printmaking communities worldwide to collaborate in a free membership, supported by a donation-based funding and materials submission (like the framing materials donated by Frame Destination).

AaI&A’s areas of expertise include photography, printmaking, research, and archives, which give members the opportunity to engage in the full relationship of photography to printmaking. AaI&A’s mission is to foster a more meaningful conversation about print permanence between photographers, printmakers, collectors, museum and archive specialists, and manufacturers who want to provide more appropriate guidance to their customers.

The goal of AaI&A is to provide the community with insights and “unwavering attention to technical excellence.” The Aardenburg Light Fade Test Results Database is the source of these insights, which helps users research and analyze printmaking systems. The database has more than 300 test results and PDF reports for Aardenburg Members, free of charge.

In the near future, AaI&A plans to publish content related to photography and printmaking, including articles, tutorials, and videos to better connect with a broader reach of people who share a passion for art, history, and photography science.

AaI&A has several specialty focus areas related to their overall mission:


AaI&A Research is dedicated to ensuring that print quality and print permanence are paramount. The only viable way to ensure that an image is presented to an audience as the photographer intended is to create a physical print. A recent project for printmaking at AaI&A is funding the acquisition of new printers for 2016 in order to help AaI&A produce the samples needed for testing. In the past, the membership has helped produce print samples, but due to the volume of samples needed, obtaining these printers would expedite the process.


Aardenburg Imaging uses the I* Metric (pronounced “i-star”), which was invented by Mark McCormick-Goodhart. It is the most advanced light fade testing program in the industry. “The I* metric evaluates photographic tone and color reproduction accuracy by comparing a chosen sampling frequency of colorimetric values in one image to the values at corresponding locations in another image of the same scene” and was originally used for image permanence studies. Its two functions include measuring color accuracy and tonal accuracy in prints.

The I* Metric has an advanced protocol that measures color according to the context of the image; an absolute rating system that publishes light fastness performance in Megalux hours, which measures the doses of direct light exposure for each print sample; criterion for failure – the Conservation Display Rating from conservative criteria for determining a period of excellence required by a Fine Art Standard; comprehensive testing; discreet systems testing; and has true independence – the tests are entirely independent of funding by printer manufacturers.


The Aardenburg Archives house modern digitally mastered prints and photographs that are donated by members and archived. Materials and processing technology become obsolete quickly, so the goal of Aaredenburg Imaging’s Archiving program is to curate, document, and preserve modern media, especially the materials and processes used in the creation of the work.

AaI&A Community

The AaI&A community has more than 2,500 members in 63 countries. Membership is free – AaI&A’s work is funded by donations rather than paid memberships. To complete the work of development, testing, and publication of all materials, AaI&A accepts general and project donations.

Mark McCormick-Goodhart is the founder and director of AaI&A. He has more than thirty years of experience in imaging and materials and is also the holder of eight U.S. patents in imaging science and technology. Since founding AaI&A in 2007, he has built the organization to become the world’s most advanced facility for image quality and image permanence testing.

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