Course: Caring for Photographs

Educause-Concept-05The Caring for Photographs was intended to strengthen general photograph preventive conservation knowledge and preservation capacity. The course began with an introduction to the technical history of photography, image formation and deterioration, and degradation mechanisms and causes, to prepare librarians, archivists, and collection care specialists with the basic knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary to safeguard their collections.

Topics addressed included:

  • Characterization and identification of albumen, silver gelatin, and chromogenic color print materials, glass plate and film base negatives
  • Agents of deterioration for photographic materials
  • Storage and exhibition practices, including cold storage
  • Handling guidelines
  • Emergency preparedness, response, and recovery
  • Balancing collection preservation and access
  • Assessment practices
  • Prioritization for preservation
In addition to webinar recording links below, you will also see transcripts of those recordings, resources that were compiled by the course instructors, and PowerPoint presentations. This course is a part of the Caring for Yesterday’s Treasures—Today series.

Webinar 1: Physical and Chemical Properties of Photographs

Tuesday, May 7, 2013
1:00-2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Instructor: Debra Hess Norris
This session will provide a basic familiarity with the fundamental physical and chemical properties of photographic print and negative collections, including albums and scrapbooks, and the causes and mechanisms of their deterioration.

Background reading and links referenced in presentation:
Webinar 2: Technological Development of Photography-Part 1
Thursday, May 9, 2013
1:00-2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Instructor: Debra Hess Norris
These sessions will focus on supplying a basic knowledge of the technological
developments of photography in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries with special focus on albumen, silver gelatin, and chromogenic, print materials, and glass plate and film base negatives.

Webinar 3: Technological Development of Photography-Part 2
Thursday, May 16, 2013
3:00-4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Instructor: Debra Hess Norris

Background reading and links referenced in Webinars 2 and 3:
Technological Development of Photography (Prints)

Technological Development of Photography (Negatives)

Webinar 4: Preventive Care of Photographs
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
1:00-2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Instructor: Debra Hess Norris
This session will look to give a basic understanding of and appreciation for issues relating to preventive care of photographic collections, including risk management; appropriate environmental conditions; handling and maintenance procedures for storage; exhibition and display parameters and monitoring techniques; and emergency preparedness, mitigation, and response.

Webinar 4 PowerPoint Slides Handout (in black and white)
Webinar 4 PowerPoint Slides Handout (in color)
Webinar 4 Transcript

Background reading and links referenced in presentation:


Webinar 5: Advocating for the Care of Photographs

Thursday, May 23, 2013
1:00-2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Instructor: Debra Hess Norris

This session will provide a basic knowledge of best practices in photograph preservation and building a case statement for effective fund raising. Advocacy for collections will be stressed as a first step in raising awareness of the richness and importance of photographic heritage.

Webinar 5 PowerPoint Slides Handout (in black and white)
Webinar 5 PowerPoint Slides Handout (in color)
Webinar 5 Transcript

Background reading and links referenced in presentation:


PUBLICATION DISCOUNT FROM GETTY PUBLICATIONS
Getty Publication is generously offering a 30% discount to course participants for the following publications:Looking at Photographs: A Guide to Technical Terms by Gordon Balwin and Martin C. Jürgens
Photographs of the Past: Process and Preservation by Bertrand Lavédrine, Jean-Paul Gandolfo, John McElhone, and Sibylle Monod
A Guide to the Preventive Conservation of Photograph Collections by Bertrand Lavédrine
Issues in the Conservation of Photographs edited by Debra Hess Norris and Jennifer Jae Gutierrez
Twentieth-Century Color Photographs: History, Identification, and Care by Sylvie Penichon (forthcoming in 2013)To place an order for one of these books, contact the Getty distribution center at the University of Chicago Press by phone at 1-800-621-2736 or email via custserv@press.uchicago.edu and use discount code GETTYCFP. Phone orders are recommended.


INSTRUCTOR
Debra Hess Norris is Chair of the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware, and Professor of Photograph Conservation. She graduated magna cum laude with an interdisciplinary BA degree in chemistry, art history, and studio art (1977) and MS in conservation (1980) from the University of Delaware. Since 1985, Norris has authored more than 30 articles and book chapters on care and treatment of photographic materials, emergency response, ethics, and conservation education; and taught more than 100 workshops and seminars for conservators and allied professionals. Norris has lectured and consulted on the preservation of photographic collections worldwide, including in Russia, India, Lebanon, Colombia, Denmark, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Mexico, Israel, Peru, Australia, and New Zealand. She co-edited a compilation of fundamental writings in the field of photograph conservation with Jennifer Jae Gutierrez–Issues in the Conservation of Photograph– published by the Getty Conservation Institute in 2010. She greatly enjoys fund raising and has secured nearly $13 million in external grants for the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware. Norris was president of the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (1993-97) the chair of Heritage Preservation (2003- 2008) and she current serves on its board. Recently, she has spoken at many of the IMLS Connecting to Collections national conferences on topics ranging from the preservation of photographic materials to fund raising for collections care. In 2002, Norris was inducted into the University of Delaware’s Alumni Wall of Fame. In January 2004, she was appointed as the Henry Francis du Pont Chair in Fine Arts. Norris has received the Rutherford John Gettens Merit Award for outstanding service to the American Institute for Conservation (1998), the Sheldon and Caroline Keck Award for excellence in the education and training of conservation professionals (2004), and the American Institute for Conservation University Products Award for distinguished achievement in the conservation of cultural property (2008).
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