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Photograph Conservation

Photograph Conservation

The Photograph Conservation Department provides preservation, conservation, and research into the history, aesthetics, and technology of images dating from the early history of the medium until the present day.

Now at the Met

Understanding Photographic Processes

Silvia Centeno, Research Scientist, Department of Scientific Research

Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2011

As a chemist in the Museum's Department of Scientific Research, I work closely with Anna Vila-Espuña, also in the Department of Scientific Research, and Nora Kennedy, in Photograph Conservation, on collaborations with Met curators to increase our understanding of methods and materials used to create paintings, works of art on paper, and photographs. This knowledge not only enlightens us about the artists' techniques, but it also aids in the care and preservation of the works.

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Now at the Met

On View January 25–30: Original Autochromes Produced Using the First Color Photographic Process

Luisa Casella, Research Scholar in Photograph Conservation, Department of Photographs

Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2011

Developed in the early years of the twentieth century, Autochromes were the result of the first commercially viable color photographic process. Yet the dyes used to impart the color in Autochromes are so sensitive to light that typical exhibition conditions cause rapid and irreversible fading, which has led to the Metropolitan Museum's policy of not exhibiting these vulnerable photographs. As the Museum's research scholar in photograph conservation, I spent three years studying the stability of Autochrome dyes. I began my research with a desire to better understand how and under what conditions Autochromes fade and, ideally, to devise a safe way to exhibit these important photographs. The exciting culmination of my work will take place next week, January 25–30, when five original Autochromes by Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen will be displayed in low-oxygen enclosures as part of the special exhibition Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand.

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