Characterization of Silver Gelatin Photographs

The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works
and The New York Public Library
present a “Collaborative Workshop in Photograph Conservation”
September 30-October 1, 2010

At the Stephen A. Schwartzman Building at The New York Public Library.
New York, New York
Thursday and Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Course Fee: $75 for students; $150 for AIC members; $200 for non-members
Enrollment Limit: 175
Registration Deadline: September 27, 2010
Advance registration is required; no registrations will be accepted on-site.
Participants are responsible for their own travel, housing, and meals.

This conference is intended to present the body of knowledge currently available on the subject of silver gelatin developed out photographs. Participants will cover a range of professionals from industry, research, institutions and the art market. Early registration is advised.

Click here for the workshop schedule.

Workshop Information
Current connoisseurship and conservation practice generally define all black and white photographs under the term “silver gelatin developed out photograph.” However, significant variations exist throughout this complex image making medium. Recent research has revealed remarkable information regarding the history and character of silver gelatin photographic papers. Understanding the exact nature of these variations provides information for more accurate dating of photographic prints, creates a descriptive vocabulary for the field and yields valuable insight into artists’ working methods and preferences.

This workshop will present recent conservation and other research regarding the characterization, dating and preservation of silver gelatin prints. Representatives from industry, conservation, the art market, museums and libraries will discuss the impact of these findings on connoisseurship and preservation.

Workshop Structure
Two days of lectures focused on the characterization and history of the silver gelatin print. Day 1 will focus on general lectures aimed at dealers, collectors and artists; Day 2 will contain lectures of a more technical nature focused on the dissemination of new research to conservators and other interested professionals. Lectures will be approximately 30 minutes with 15 minutes for follow-up questions. Panel discussions, question and answer periods will be emphasized.

  • The History of Silver Gelatin Developed Out Papers - Paul Messier
  • Using Historical Information to Identify and Date SGDOP - Kit Funderburk
  • Exploring Artists' Use of Silver Gelatin Papers - Nora Kennedy, Anne Cartier-Bresson, Vera Lutter, Alison Rossiter
  • Modern Silver Gelatin Technology - Howard Hopwood
  • Current Research at Image Permanence Institute - James Reilly
  • Case Studies: Lewis Hine  - Valerie Baas, Paul Messier, Denise Bethel
  • X-Ray Florescence Spectroscopy of Silver Gelatin Developed-Out Prints - Valerie Baas, Erin Murphy
  • Current Research at MoMA - Lee Ann Daffner
  • Optical Brighteners - Paul Messier
  • Characterization Projects at MoMA - Ana Martins
  • Silver Gelatin Sample Sets - Greg Hill and Tania Passafiume
  • New Research and Future Directions - Connie McCabe, Anne Cartier-Bresson, Peter Mustardo, Pete Galassi
The New York Public Library will be presenting the exhibit, "Recollection:  Thirty Years of Photography at The New York Public Library."  Click here for more information on the exhibit.
The New York Public Library has made available six video recordings of presentations from the "Characterization of Silver Gelatin Photographs," a collaborative workshop in photographic conservation:

Enhanced understanding of the history of gelatins silver developing out paper
Awareness of the various method and materials used by manufacturers to produce gelatin silver developing out prints over time.
Deepened appreciation of how the various attributes of gelatin silver developing out paper, texture, reflectance, and highlight / shadow color are manipulated to advance the artistic intentions of photographers.
Dealers, Gallerists, Collectors, Curators will receive
An in-depth introduction on the various methodologies used to characterize gelatin silver developing out prints, with an emphasis on techniques useful in dating fine art photographs.
Understanding of the various deterioration mechanisms inherent in gelatin silver developing out papers and a review of conservation treatment options.

Conservators will receive
Knowledge of state of the art scientific methods applied to the characterization of gelatin silver developing out papers.
An understanding of techniques every photograph conservator can use to document the various properties of gelatins silver developing out prints
This program is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities
as well as a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional funding comes from the FAIC Endowment for Professional Development,
which is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
and by contributions from  members and friends of the
American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works.

Without this funding, the registration fee for this workshop would be
approximately $500.00

Special thanks to Erin Murphy and the New York Public Library

SACI Florence