Digitizing an Heirloom Family Album

Recently we had the opportunity to work with a wonderful personal collection of photographic material from the late 19th & early 20th centuries contained within a family album.

Some examples of the range of print types in this historic family album requiring accurate color rendering.

There were many fine examples of different silver gelatin processes and albumen prints. As with most family albums there were casual snap shots as well as formal portraits along with cartes de visite from professional studios. There were also a wide range travel images from around North America and the world.

Using our Hasselblad H3D2 camera, we carefully captured the 100 pages of this fragile leather bound album in order to make digital and physical surrogates. The  high resolution digital files can be used to make a variety of physical surrogates such as ink jet prints; in this instance a number of “print-on-demand” books are being printed and distributed amongst the family members. To help protect the physical integrity of the album the original was then carefully housed in a new, archival clam shell box for safe storage.

Visually accurate and high resolution digital imaging processes can help prolong the life of similar delicate photographic heirlooms or works on paper by diminishing the need for frequent handling and the damage that could ensue.


About albumenworks

Founded in Chicago in 1976 by Doug Munson and Joel Snyder, CAW moved to the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts in 1982. The Chicago Albumen Works puts decades of experience to work for some of the finest collections from around the world. A combination of technical expertise and historical perspective, operating in a controlled, conservation environment, directs our solutions to the diverse challenges presented by photograph collections. At CAW, the synergy of technical understanding, a conservator’s approach, an artist’s eye and a historian’s perspective creates a unique, productive, and collegial environment.
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