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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

Barbara Lemmen

Senior Photograph Conservator, Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts
Barbara Lemmen received her BA from Williams College in 1985 (with majors in Art History and Chemistry) and her MS in Conservation (with a major in photographs, and minors in paper and objects) from the University of Delaware in 1991. Ms. Lemmen’s training included internships in photograph conservation treatment and research at the National Archives of Canada, the Image Permanence Institute, and the José Orraca Studio... 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 "Silver Gelatin DOP Adhesion to Glass: The Bond and the Blocking" won the award for Best MA Dissertation in Conservation of Historic Objects 2014-15 and is awaiting... Read More →

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

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