‘When we think about photographs preservation we need to think to preserve not only their surface. We need to think about the preservation of all the object’ – statement by Ian and Angela Moor, founders of the Center.
The Conservation of Photographs is a relatively new discipline in the cultural heritage preservation field with its beginnings in the late 1960’s early 1970’s. However, it has its roots firmly grounded in the formative years of photography as practitioners and the emergent photographic industry grappled with its inherent instability.The causes of the deterioration of photographs are many, first of all environmental factors such as light or poor washing or exhausted fixation bath.External factors such as mounting and housing materials and adhesives could possibly ruin photographs.
Since the early 1970’s Ian and Angela Moor have been at the forefront of the development of photographic conservation in the UK as researchers and developers of photographic conservation techniques; consultants and advisers to major collections of photography.
They established The Centre for Photographic Conservation in 1981. Ian and Angela were founder members of the Photographic Materials Conservation Group, which emerged from the conference The Imperfect Image: Photographs Their Past, Present and Future. This international conference in 1992 was the first on the preservation and conservation of photographic material and was organised by The Centre for Photographic Conservation. The conference proceedings, published by The Centre in 1993, constitute a major collection of information in the field of photographic preservation and conservation. Ian was a founder member of the committee for the Administrative Group for the successful Conservation Petition in 1984-85 which, on behalf of the British conservation professions.
Ian is a director and Head of Conservation and Angela is Conservator Administrator at The Centre for Photographic Conservation. Since 1981 Ian and Angela have taught an annual programme of professional development courses on photographic conservation and preservation for both curatorial and conservation personnel from national and international public and private institutions at the Centre. This seminar looked at the conservation of photographs past and present. Ian and Angela also considered the huge challenges faced by both private and institutional collections, with regard to the future preservation of both historic and contemporary photography in all its diverse material forms. The preservation and conservation of contemporary photography alone is already presenting huge challenges to collections and conservators, presenting issues that are already impacting and will continue to impact on collectors, the art market and ultimately the value and veracity of contemporary images. As Ian and Angela explained, the treatment of faults in both material systems and their chemistries and the need to develop more stable photographic processes have hugely impacted and influenced the evolution of the photographic process itself.
Today the result of materials and image instability continues to present huge challenges to
contemporary users, photographers, the photographic industry, collectors and collections
both public and private in the wider heritage field worldwide. Their knowledge and experience,now spanning 40 years, in the history, processes and conservation of photography coupled with aesthetic appreciation, ethical approach and skill have earned them a deserved international reputation in the field of photographic preservation and conservation.
Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman
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