Nineteenth Century Photographic Negative Processes

A Collaborative Workshop in Photograph Conservation

Presented by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation
Funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Hosted by George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film
June 20-24, 2011
Rochester, New York

Course Fee: AIC members $600; non-members $800
Enrollment Limit: 14

This week-long, intensive workshop will delve into all aspects of the earliest forms of the photographic negative: the paper negative and wet plate collodion on glass negative. Participants will create their own sample negatives using historic techniques under the direction of photographer Alan Greene of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mark Osterman, Process Historian at the Kay R. Whitmore Conservation Center at the George Eastman House, and France Scully Osterman of Scully & Osterman Studios.

Variants of each negative type will be discussed and/or demonstrated, reflecting the evolution of these processes during their brief histories. Both pre-waxed and unwaxed variants of the paper negative process will be recreated using vintage techniques developed in England and France. Redevelopment, toning and processing variants of the collodion negative will also be demonstrated. Practica will be complemented by lectures on the chemistry, conservation treatment, preservation, display, history, and aesthetics of these nineteenth century image making techniques. Examples from the George Eastman House collection will available for viewing and discussion.

Speakers will include:
  • Larry J. Schaaf on the aesthetics of sciagraphy
  • Jiuan Jiuan Chen of Paul Messier LLC, on preservation and treatment of paper negatives
  • Kate Whitman of the Art Gallery of Ontario and Ralph Wiegandt of George Eastman House, on preservation and treatment of wet plate negatives
  • Dr. Mike Ware, Honorary Fellow in Chemistry at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, on the chemistry of paper and collodion negatives
  • Marsha Sirven of Atelier de Restauration et de Conservation des Photographies de la Ville de Paris (ARCP), on the exhibition of negatives
  • Mark Osterman - “Evolution of the Glass Plate Negative”
The workshop is open to recent graduates in photograph conservation and photograph conservation practitioners who have had limited access to equivalent training. Due to the hands-on nature of the workshop, enrollment is extremely limited.

How to Apply
Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae and a statement of purpose of no more than 1000 words, clearly describing why participation in this workshop is important to their educational and professional goals. Prior experience with the topic or lack thereof should be noted as well as opportunities for dissemination of information gained. Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria: professional experience and training appropriate to this workshop; commitment to photograph conservation; potential for dissemination. The selection committee will also seek a balanced group based on institutional and private practice conservators, geography, and number of registrants from a single organization.

Please submit applications electronically, using the forms available at or from the AIC office. Applications and supporting documents will be considered as received, until course is filled.  Early application is recommended.  

Please note:  some of the processes demonstrated in this workshop emit strong odors, particularly ether and oil of lavender. Those with sensitivity to these odors should not participate, or should bring appropriate protective equipment

Limited financial aid is available. Applications for FAIC Individual Professional Development Scholarships must be received by February 15, and should be submitted electronically to AIC Professional Associates and Fellows will be eligible for normal FAIC scholarship funding; others, including international applicants, should use the same scholarship form but will be considered for separate FAIC funding for this workshop. See guidelines and forms at   

Housing and Travel
For more information about Rochester, visit and for information about the George Eastman House.

For more information, contact:

Abigail Choudhury, Development and Education Associate
Foundation of the American Institute for
  Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 320
Washington, DC20005
Fax: 202-452-9328

SACI Florence