Photo Conservation Workshop: Day 2

Gawain Weaver and Jennifer Olsen teaching photo conservation techniques to book and paper conservators.

On Day 2 of the photo conservation workshop we concentrated on silver gelatin prints. We learned how to dry clean surfaces, a couple techniques for removing silver mirroring, and attempted to remove prints that were stuck to glass.

One of the best things about workshops like this is learning tips from each other, and learning that when you find things difficult it may not be your skills that are faulty. It may be that the treatment is difficult even for very skilled professionals and almost always leads to heartbreak [see also: removing prints stuck to glass].

Addendum: We have posted images from the workshop on Flickr, and you can see composites and a brief description of Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 on Preservation Underground.

2 thoughts on “Photo Conservation Workshop: Day 2”

  1. This looks like it was a fantastic workshop! I took the Campbell Center’s Care of Photos I and II courses this summer with Gary Albright. We learned mostly preservation measures since it was an introduction but I have a photo that is stuck to glass. It is only stuck in about a 1/2 in. By 3 mm area. The photo is from the late 20th cent. I think it is probably gelatin dop. I don’t suppose you’d be willing to share any of the unsticking photos from glass techniques by email? Gary told me to leave it be but it bothers me because the glass is dirty and old and probably wouldn’t allow for a good scan. I understand if you can’t share.

    1. Hi Kate, feel free to email me. I’m sure Gawain Weaver would be happy to talk to you as well if you contacted him. The bottom line won’t be much different from what Gary Albright told you. It is heartbreak waiting to happen, and it rarely comes off clean. I think a lot of us decided that your best bet it to image it first so that when you peel it off the glass along with the emulsion you will have something left to look at. Here at Duke we normally create cushioned boxes for these items and leave them as is. I’m not sure given what we did in class that this will change our normal outlook. But if we had a stuck photo and we all agreed to accept the high probability of loss, we might try one of the methods.

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