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Monday, May 16 • 11:00am - 11:30am
(Photographic Materials) Separation Anxieties: Approaches to Freeing Photographs That Are Stuck to Glazing or to Each Other

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Since high-humidity environments and aqueous solutions will swell gelatin emulsions and increase their solubility and tack, silver gelatin black-and-white and color photographs are often brought to photograph conservators for treatment following small- and large-scale water disasters. Collections of photographic prints and negatives may become firmly adhered to one another in a stack, preventing access to their content, or locally stuck to the glazing in their frames. Severe distortion, staining, and mold growth, which often occur simultaneously with adhesion, complicate the condition issues and treatment protocols for such photographs. Photograph conservators have developed treatment approaches that are generally successful for certain types of damage. Such protocols include the introduction of moisture locally or overall through water vapor, poultices, or liquid water; altering the temperature, pH, and/or polarity of the water; and mechanical manipulation and heat, alone or in combination with the preceding approaches. These techniques require the conservator to have a basic understanding of the chemical and physical characteristics of gelatin and of its photographic support, both in their original and newly compromised conditions. Until recently, the nature of the bonds formed between gelatin and glass had not been explored and were poorly understood. This presentation will introduce new investigations into the mechanics, chemistry, and aging of gelatin-to-glass bonds. It seeks to spur new approaches to the treatment of water-damaged photographs, as well as to expand the treatment repertoire for photograph conservators facing such challenges.

avatar for Barbara Lemmen-[Fellow]

Barbara Lemmen-[Fellow]

Photograph Conservator, Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts/nUniversity of Delaware
Barbara Lemmen is Senior Photograph Conservator at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) in Philadelphia. She earned her BA in Art History and Chemistry from Williams College, and an MS from the Winterthur Museum/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation... Read More →
avatar for Emma Lowe

Emma Lowe

Emma switched career from Criminal Law to Conservation in 2012. She completed a Graduate Diploma (2012-13), a Post-Graduate Diploma (2014-15), and graduated from her Masters in Conservation of Historic Objects at Lincoln University, UK, with a Distinction in January 2016. Her thesis... Read More →

Monday May 16, 2016 11:00am - 11:30am EDT
Room 516 CD