Negative Deterioration Part Two: Cellulose Acetate Negative Conservation

Before and after conservation treatment, cellulose acetate x-ray from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command

Vinegar syndrome, or the process of  cellulose acetate deterioration, is an unavoidable issue for any collection of acetate negatives, either presently or in future decades.  Before deterioration occurs or early in the deterioration process, preventative measures can be taken to preserve negatives including cold or cool storage, adequate ventilation, and appropriate acid free enclosures – all of which can greatly extend the life of a negative collection.  Steps can also be taken to preserve the negatives through digitization and duplication before the deterioration begins to cause image loss.

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Bubbling or “orange peel pattern” deterioration in acetate negative.

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Crystalline deposits between layers of deteriorating acetate negative.

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Very characteristic channeling of an acetate negative in advanced stage of deterioration.

However, once advanced deterioration such as bubbling, channeling, and crystalline deposits begin to form between the layers of the negative, more drastic measures must be taken to retrieve a legible image.  In the 1980s,  Doug Munson developed the first practical solution for recovering the emulsion layer (or pellicle) of cellulose acetate negatives.  Though it was already known that the gelatin emulsion could be removed from the deteriorating acetate film base, he eliminated the problems of fragility and dimensional stability of the emulsion layer by rigorously controlling the amount of water in the emulsion recovery routine, a process often referred to as “stripping”.  Because CAW already ran an accurate and highly calibrated negative duplicating facility, they were in a unique position to combine the stripping process with the creation of an extremely accurate duplicate negative on archival polyester film.  After recovering and duplicating 793 negatives from the Walker Evans Archive in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Doug presented his technique at the Photographic Materials Group meeting in 1997.  In 2000, Doug trained Kijoo Kim in the process.  Though the basic technique of stripping the emulsion layer from the base has not changed significantly since CAW began providing this service 30 years ago, over the last 13 years Kijoo has refined the technique while recovering over 11,000 negatives.  Emily Phoenix joined the acetate stripping team in 2010 and has recovered over 1,500 negatives.

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Diagram of the layers of a film negative.

The ability to separate the image emulsion layer from a deteriorated acetate film base relies on the presence of cellulose nitrate subbing layers between the emulsion, support, and anti-curl layers of the negative.  The initial separation of the pellicle from its deteriorated acetate base can be accomplished by dissolving away these nitrate layers in a non-aqueous solvent combination.  Subsequent solvent baths perform three tasks.  They clean the pellicle of residual cellulose nitrate retained from the first stripping bath, they allow a progression from dangerous solvent chemicals to the less toxic ethanol bath, and they introduce a controlled amount of water to the pellicle to allow it to relax and be temporarily flattened, without evidence of its previous furrowing.

The next stage of the process is to flatten the pellicle, while still wet, between Mylar and glass.  If the pellicle is undamaged, this is usually simple to do.  Unfortunately, in many cases the emulsion is cracked or broken and must be carefully reassembled.  After the pellicle has been arranged, and reassembled if necessary, it is scanned and then dried in an archival paper sleeve.  We do not attach the pellicle to a new support since it is quite stable on its own, and if it is needed in the future it can be safely handled by an experienced photograph conservator.  From the digital file we produce an archival film negative using LVT film recorders and process the film in-house in order to carefully control the development, fixing, and washing of the negative to meet the highest archival standards.  This duplicate negative serves all practical purposes an institution may have, and the original pellicle is stored safely away from regular handling.

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Kijoo Kim closing the cracks between the many pieces of a badly deteriorated 14×17″ x-ray. X-rays are particularly difficult to recover because they have not one but two emulsion layers. The process is like piecing together a puzzle. . . which happens to be mixed up in the same box with a different puzzle of the same image.

In published material on the subject of acetate negative deterioration, channeling is frequently referred to as the final stage of deterioration.  This is not the case.  A pellicle may be complete and undamaged even though channeling has occurred, and recovering these pellicles is a relatively simple procedure resulting in a complete image with no trace of deterioration remaining.  However, the deterioration process does not end there.  As the acetate base becomes increasingly brittle and breaks into pieces, it may force the emulsion layer to break along with it, resulting in cracks and pieces of the emulsion becoming separated from the rest of the negative.  Many years of practice have allowed us to become skilled at saving even very badly broken negatives, but we can only reassemble pieces that we have, and all too often the fragile pieces of emulsion are lost or destroyed before they are sent for recovery.

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The orange spots on this acetate negative were most likely caused by nitric acid from cellulose nitrate negatives stored nearby. Nitric acid compromises the emulsion layer, and is one of the main causes (along with water damage) of a pellicle breaking down during the stripping process.

We have heard concerns about the potential of the stripping process to damage negatives.  While there is risk involved, it is slight compared to the risk of taking no action.  Of the tens of thousands of negatives that we have recovered through this process, in only four cases was the emulsion compromised beyond recovery, and we were forced to use the “before” image for the duplicate negative.  In all of these cases we suspected that deterioration factors beyond those posed by the negative itself were at play – most likely nitrate negative contamination or excessive water/mold damage.  However, we have observed that every year we receive a higher proportion of negatives which have deteriorated past the channeling stage and are beginning to crack and break apart, as well as an increase in the number of negatives with indelible stains caused by the deterioration processes.  As more collections of negatives advance from a stage of deterioration where they are merely channeling or bubbling to a stage where they are breaking and crumbling, we fear that the number of negatives with image loss will, regrettably, rise.  Though we work steadily to increase our skill to meet the demands that the future may bring, it is our hope that collections are preserved before such labor and skill are required.  We encourage all institutions to make a preservation plan for their negative collections, both before deterioration occurs and once it sets in.  Though it may be daunting, the steps that we take in the present will preserve valuable images and information for future generations.

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Close up of before and after the recovery process demonstrating the removal of crystalline deposits.

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Negative Deterioration Part One: Digitization and Preservation of Cellulose Nitrate and Cellulose Acetate Negatives

Before polyester film became readily available in the 1950’s, all flexible film negatives were made on some form of cellulose nitrate or cellulose acetate support.  Both of these film bases have deterioration issues, and in the case of nitrate negatives, health and safety issues as well.

Timeline of Film-Based Negatives

Both nitrate and acetate film deteriorate, and while some of the characteristics of their early deterioration are similar, distinguishing between the two and separating them is extremely important because the characteristics of their advanced deterioration are quite different.  Chemicals released by deteriorating nitrate negatives can aggressively attack nearby negatives, prints, and housings and may turn recoverable acetate negatives into a negatives that cannot be recovered (more to come on the conservation of acetate negatives in Part Two of this post).

Deteriorating nitrate negatives, stored with safety film (acetate or polyester) can cause extensive damage to negatives which otherwise may not have deteriorated. The nitrate negatives found in the stack of negatives shown above destroyed the polyester and acetate negatives that were surrounding it, chemically burning through their sleeves and contaminating everything in the vicinity.

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This is an example of a nitrate negative that has deteriorated past the point of recovery by any preservation efforts. It is also an example of a negative best examined under a fume hood as the gas released is both unpleasant and presents health issues.

Sorting through off-gassing, actively deteriorating negatives to try to identify the film base and decide on a course of action for their preservation can be both difficult and unpleasant.  While most of the negative collections that we work with have already been divided by media, some institutions prefer to defer to our expertise (and ventilation) when it comes to sorting through a collection of negatives with different bases and levels of deterioration which may or may not be salvageable for digitization/duplication.

Our routine for preserving the information from nitrate negatives at all stages of deterioration and from acetate negatives in the early stages of deterioration (without any bubbling, crystalline deposits, or channeling) is more or less the same.  Before the prevalence of digital media, the standard practice for preserving information from deteriorating negatives was to create interpositives and duplicate negatives on archival polyester film.  We now meet this preservation standard by creating high resolution scans and outputting to film via LVT film recorder which produces incredibly sharp, continuous tone, silver gelatin negatives suitable for either printing or as a preservation copy that can be scanned at a later date should the digital file be lost or corrupted.  This allows for the best of both the digital and analog worlds, providing the accessibility of digital images and the durability of an archival hard copy.  This is of particular importance for institutions or individuals with weak links in their digital migration strategy – a duplicate negative is human readable, unlike a digital file, and therefore does not need to be reformatted or migrated due to hardware or software changes.  After this process has been completed, the institution or individual who owns the negatives may choose to dispose of the originals or place them into cold storage depending on their value as physical objects and the extent of their deterioration.

Nitrate

This is an example of nitrate negatives that may or may not be suitable for preservation efforts. Many times we are able to carefully unroll negatives in this condition and digitize them to create duplicate negatives for preservation. Other times the nitrate has experienced too much deterioration and has completely adhered to itself, making the recovery of the image impossible.

Our extensive experience with negatives is an advantage at every stage of this process.  Assessing and working with many negative collections over the years has proven useful in being able to identify different film bases, even when they do not bare obvious characteristic traits.  We are experienced in handling them and make every effort to carefully flatten curled nitrate negatives and separate them in cases of adhesion.  In the case of broken negatives, the pieces may have shrunk at different rates and become deformed, making physically lining them up on the scanner an impossibility.  In these cases, our clients have the option of having us digitally repair the image so that the cracks or breaks are not apparent.

The final stage of the process, making duplicate negatives, has been one of our specialties for over 30 years.  We examine all film to check for both digital artifacts and analog flaws.  All black and white film processing is performed in house where we regularly perform methylene blue tests to confirm that there is no residual chemistry, and every negative is checked for density, sharpness, and dust.  For more information about our past clients and experience in this field, please see the history page on our website.

Resources for additional information on nitrate and acetate film deterioration, identification, and preservation:

Though this is published by the National Park Services and some of the recommendations are specific to NPS collections, this guide may be useful to other institutions faced with the sometimes daunting task of nitrate and acetate film identification and preservation:

http://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/14-09.pdf

http://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/MHI/AppendM.pdf

Valverde, Maria Fernanda. “Guide for Identification and Preservation of Negative Collections.”:

http://notesonphotographs.org/index.php?title=Valverde,_Maria_Fernanda._%22Guide_for_Identification_and_Preservation_of_Negative_Collections.%22

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Edwin Hale Lincoln Exhibition

We have been delighted to be involved in the digitization and printing of images made by Berkshire photographer Edwin Hale Lincoln, to be exhibited at the Berkshire Historical Society at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead.  Lincoln moved to the Berkshires in 1893 and photographed subjects including the opulent summer “cottages” of the gilded age and botanical studies using an 8×10 view camera.  The prints used for this exhibition have all been produced from original dry-plate negatives.

Inkjet

Proofing the Inkjet Exhibition Prints

The glass plates were first digitized using our recently acquired Hasselblad H4D-200MS camera to produce exceedingly sharp, high resolution images.   The negatives were inverted to positive and adjusted to best represent the image and were reproduced as digital pigment prints on our 7900 Epson printer.

Because the primary focus of the exhibition was historical, the digital prints were produced with the aesthetic of silver gelatin reference prints.  However, Lincoln was a master platinum printer and used this process as his primary print medium.  The subtle tonal range and delicate aesthetic of platinum printing can not very successfully be reproduced using inkjet media.

Inspecting the LVT Negative

Inspecting the LVT Negative

The curator of the exhibition, Alfred De Maio, suggested, and we quite agreed, that it would be wonderful to have at least one image reproduced as a platinum print to give the visitors an opportunity to see first hand what this historical process looked like.  A wonderful image from the Salisbury Estate in Pittsfield (now Hillcrest Campus of Berkshire Health Systems on West Street) of a path through the woods was chosen for this purpose, and we produced a high resolution, continuous tone LVT negative from which to print.

Mixing the Sensitizer

Mixing the Sensitizer

To most accurately represent the appearance of a turn of the century platinum print, we used a very smooth, thin, 100% cotton paper.  While Lincoln would have had commercially produced platinum papers available to him, no such paper exists today and each sheet of platinum paper must be hand coated with sensitizer mixed from several chemicals that react to form a light sensitive coating on the paper.

Clearing the Platinum Print

Clearing the Platinum Print

The chemistry is carefully brushed on, dried, and the negative is printed in contact with the paper with a u.v. light source.  After the print is exposed, it is developed, cleared, and washed of residual chemistry to create an incredibly archival photographic print of exquisite detail and subtle gradation.

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The exhibition Platinum Print produced by Chicago Albumen Works
Original Negative by Edwin Hale Lincoln, early 20th century
“Path Through Woods”, Salisbury Estate, Pittsfield
Image use courtesy of the Berkshire Historical Society

While this print was donated for the exhibition by Chicago Albumen Works, additional prints will be available for purchase through the Berkshire Historical Society.  Please contact Will Garrison, Curator at curator@berkshirehistory.org or 413/442.1793 x12 for more information.  www.mobydick.org

There will be an opening reception at 2 pm on Sunday, June 2.  The exhibit will be open 7 days a week, 9:30am to 5pm until Columbus Day.

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Disaster Recovery: The Benefits of an Interdisciplinary Studio

Over the last several months, we have been working to recover and preserve a collection of photographs and related material damaged in hurricane Sandy in October of 2012.  The material was promptly frozen after the storm and transferred with the aid of dry ice to our Housatonic, MA location.  Bit by bit, the material has been thawed, washed, and rehoused in manageable batches by members of our staff.

We began with the most straightforward material, washing and drying negatives and prints that were in good condition and, though wet, were otherwise undamaged by the flood thanks to the quick action of the collections manager.  This material was cataloged and well documented by the archive, and retaining the information from the original water damaged envelopes and housings was, though laborious, relatively simple to do.

After finishing the recovery of the well organized material, we then faced the daunting task of recovering the “mixed bag” of material.  This material had not yet been as rigorously cataloged or organized, and a variety of media had been frozen together (a necessary measure given the extreme circumstances).  Approaching this material, the benefits of a multidisciplinary studio quickly came to light.  By having staff experienced in collections management, preservation, conservation, and digitization, we were able to pull from a range of experience to find a number of creative solutions to difficult problems.

Low_Res_FrozenSlidesLabelled slides in polyester sleeves were one example from the “mixed bag” that required special treatment.  The mounts of the slides were badly damaged by the water, causing colorant in the slide adhesive to migrate and the adhesive to partially dissolve.  Furthermore, the printing on the labels, while still legible in their frozen stage, rapidly disintegrated as soon as any handling, thawing, or washing occurred.  While it was not necessary to preserve the mounts, it was necessary to preserve the information from the labels and to return it to the preserved slides after they had been washed, dried, and remounted.  Since we don’t have a walk-in freezer in which to catalog the images and transfer the label information, we needed a way to both record the information and to match it back up with the correct image later on.  We decided to make high resolution images of the slide pages while they were still frozen.  This required using a 39 MP camera (a scanner would be too slow and the slides would start to thaw) and a combination of transmitted and reflective lighting so that both the labels and the images would be legible.

Polaroid RecoveryAnother piece requiring extra attention and fast thinking in the “mixed bag” was a Polaroid photograph that was found frozen among a group of color snapshots.  While the chromogenic prints responded as expected to our routine of washing and drying, the Polaroid was furrowed and almost entirely separated from it’s base.  The emulsion was removed from the base so that the pellicle could be flattened using a similar method as what we use for deteriorated acetate negative recovery, but using an opaque sheet of white plastic rather than glass as the work surface so that scans could be made throughout the process.  If the process hadn’t worked, we would at least have a digital record of the stages of the attempted recovery, allowing us to digitally restore the image if necessary.  However, the recovery attempt was fairly successful.  After the flattened image was digitized, it was dried in contact with a sheet of fiber based, processed, photo paper.  The gelatin on the paper adhered to the image pellicle, giving it a new support that would closely resemble it’s old support.  While the image did retain some staining and traces from the furrowing, an object that could have been written off as completely destroyed was saved both in digital and physical form.

Envelope RecoveryKeeping all of the levels of information from the boxes, sleeves, and envelopes with the images and transferring it onto new, undamaged housings was no small feat either.  This is when experience in collections management becomes very valuable.  A disaster like a flood doesn’t allow for much time to carefully sort through, organize, and compile records for all of the outgoing material.   While a lot of effort went into the wet recovery phase of the physical materials, an almost equal amount was devoted to organizing and retaining information in the form of sorting/organizing, relabeling, and rehousing the entire collection in archival enclosures.

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Helen Levitt in Color

In addition to working with traditional and digital methods of negative production, CAW also has the capability to create digital film transparencies. One such project was the restoration and re-creation of the slide show Helen Levitt in Color, originally exhibited September 16 – October 20, 1974 for her Projects show at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). This work consists of 40 colour photographs made by Levitt on the streets of New York from 1971-74 and has, in various forms, been featured in several books and catalogues.

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“Untitled” from Projects: Helen Levitt in Color 1971-74
Chromogenic color transparencies shown in continuous projection Purchase
© 2013 The Estate of Helen Levitt

Over time, colour transparency film can be susceptible to colour shifts and fading. The goal of the project was to create sets of exhibition slides for MoMA’s collection that represent the images as they appeared when first produced.  To achieve the best result, a wide range of source material including, 35mm slides, dye transfer prints and chromogenic color prints from the collections of MoMA and the Estate of Helen Levitt were digitised to make the high resolution files. These files were then used to translate the images back into the 35mm transparency format for exhibition.

It was a technical and aesthetic challenge to re-create this collection of images from such a wide variety of sources and materials, each

Reproduction contact sheet for Projects: Helen Levitt in Color made from a variety of image media prepared for lvt output.

Reproduction proof sheet for Projects: Helen Levitt in Color made from a variety of image media prepared for lvt E6 film output.

unique in its inherent qualities and in physical condition. For certain images a direct transcription from slide to slide was impossible so there was the need to transpose from the original medium to another. In careful consultation with Marvin Hoshino of the Helen Levitt Estate, Sarah Meister, Curator and Tasha Lutek, Cataloguer from the Department of Photography at MoMA, we were able to digitally restore the images and then output them as 35mm slides using an LVT film recorder and 8×10, E6 reversal film.

These photographs remain an important and vital artistic work; Levitt’s dynamic frame, sense of tonality, and the humanity with which she has captured the citizens of New York, continue to make this series of images a pleasure to view and to contemplate.

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Hollywood Platinum Portraits

Here at the Albumen Works we recently had the opportunity to produce a set of platinum prints for Richard Cartwright, a professional on-set photographer working in the motion picture industry in Hollywood.

Using a Leica M monochrome digital camera to make several portraits of the actor Peter Mensah (300, Avatar, True Blood) Cartwright sought to marry the technological sophistication of the digital age with a handcrafted 19th century printing aesthetic that celebrated the object as well as the image. To this end he approached CAW to have his vision translated into platinum/palladium prints.

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Emily positions the coated paper over the negative.

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Each print is hand developed in trays.

From digital files Emily Wagner Phoenix produced large format film negatives on the LVT image recorder; then hand coated the paper with the sensitizer that produces the subtle tones that platinum and palladium prints are prized for.

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Peter Mensah #1 © 2013 Richard Cartwright

An effective and beautiful combination of 19th, 20th and 21st century photographic technologies; these archival, handmade prints lend a timelessness and depth to these portraits made with the precision optics and imaging technology of a state-of-the-art digital camera.

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Albumen Printing Workshop with the Better Image

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Emily Phoenix and Ki-joo Kim prepare the lab for the workshop

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Doug Munson distributes historical and technical information for each of the workshop participants.

The Albumen Works had the great pleasure to host an albumen printing workshop in the early part of December for Peter Mustardo, Richard Stenman, Amanda Maloney, Michelle Kloehn, and Alison Rossiter from The Better Image as well as Nora Kennedy Sherman Fairchild Conservator of Photographs and Maggie Wessling, a student intern, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The weekend opened on Friday afternoon with Doug Munson giving a short history of the process and the science behind why and how it works. Doug has been making albumen prints since the 1970s and has printed a large number of historic 19th & 20th century negatives and glass plates by such photographers as Eadweard Muybridge, Carleton Watkins, Edouard Baldus and Eugene Atget for a number of public institutions.

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As with omelettes, so too with albumen prints…

From there the participants were taken through the initial stages of creating the albumen for  coating. Separating the egg whites, salting the albumen, coating the paper both for large quantity processing as well as for “domestic” use. Once the basic process from the coating through the hardening to sensitizing of the paper had been demonstrated the participants began in earnest making prints and experimenting with the process.

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Prints from a calotype, digital negative and a 20s sheet film negative.

The participants brought a number of different negative media to use during the workshop as well as having sent a group of digital files that were tailored to match the albumen printing process and made into film negatives by Emily Phoenix using an LVT film recorder. These materials ranged across the history of photography; prints were made from glass plates, antique film negatives, calotype negatives, and photograms were all attempted as were digital images originating from a smart phone!

There were several auxiliary demonstrations given by the CAW staff: Ki-Joo Kim demonstrated wet mounting prints from the mixing of the paste to the final pressing of the image between blotters on an iron book press. Emily Phoenix gave a brief overview of the LVT system and how we produce digital film negatives.

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Participant’s prints.

Given the professional interest in the process by the participants there was a great deal of informal experimenting going on throughout the weekend as different negatives were printed, printing times tried and toners used or not used. Nora Kennedy investigated the production and printing of “matte albumen” and by the time the last participant reluctantly left Sunday afternoon, there had been more than 100 prints made by all.

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Winding up the weekend: Richard Stenman, Amanda Maloney, Peter Mustardo, Ki-joo Kim, Emily Phoenix, Allan Phoenix, Maggie Wessling, our waiter, Michelle Kloehn, Nora Kennedy, Alison Rossiter, Toddy Munson & Doug Munson.

It is always a pleasure to host such an interesting, and convivial group of colleagues and we are looking forward to our next historical process workshop.

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Making Facsimile Prints & Album

Over the last couple of years CAW has had the pleasure of working with Barbara Wheaton and her family digitising and printing reproductions of a collection of etchings and engravings prior to their donation to a cultural institution. There were many different sizes and styles of prints which were captured using both the Sinar and Hasselblad cameras; we had the opportunity to handle works by such Masters as Albrecht Dürer and Honoré Daumier, to name just two of the artists and craftsmen represented in the collection.

Etching by Albrecht Dürer from the collection of Barbara Wheaton.

The project also provided us with an opportunity to create a number of facsimile albums that can be enjoyed by different members of the family.

The Fabrication of Facsimile Albums

The final stage of the project was the fabrication of five facsimile albums containing ten engravings from the 16th century by the artist Gerhard Groningen representing the ten stages of a man’s life.

The second in the Gronigen’s series on a man’s life.

Once we decided to not to duplicate the effects of time on the cover, the first challenge in this project was selecting materials that reflected the look and quality of the original. Fortunately quality papers are still made and we were able to acquire high quality paper that matched the original from Talas.

The original album showing age and wear.

The album itself consists of ten engravings with interleaving, stab bound and sewn together in stiff grey paper wrappers with marbled paper on the spine. The prints themselves are sewn together and comprise the pages of the album. The whole album was captured, page by page, recto and verso, with the Hasselblad camera and adjustments made in PhotoShop in order replicate the subtle tones of the paper and the detail of the engravings. The facsimiles of the prints themselves were made on a double-sided semi-matte inkjet paper made by Moab from Legion Paper and printed on an Epson Pro Stylus 7800 printer.

The use of inkjet photo paper, necessary for accurate image reproduction, presented a mechanical challenge during the binding process. It is stiff and the surface is prone to cracking and flaking if folded to turn pages. This difficulty was overcome by cutting each of the pages into a page and a spine and re-connecting them, leaving a small gap, with P90 tape on both sides to form a hinge.

Allan Phoenix pasting up the covers.

Each album was then sewn in a similar manner to the original, using the stab binding and sewing pattern found in the album. A Canson Ingres paper was used for the cover was glued over a light archival card stock for stiffness. Unlike the original, whose covers were cut flush to the prints, the facsimile covers were made slightly larger in order to protect the edges of the inkjet paper from abrasion.

 

 

 

 

Much care was taken to source materials that closely replicated the original and we obtained handmade interleaving papers by Ruscombe Mills and the Restauro Series of Italian hand marbled paper from Talas.

The elegant visual and tactile nature of these papers and the detailed  image reproductions combined to create a group of facsimiles that are both pleasing to the eye and the hand and should confer the grace of time as they age.

The albums side by side.

The original and completed facsimile albums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(use of the print images courtesy of Barbara Wheaton & family)

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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.

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Presentation at TechFocus II

Coming up at the end of this week Doug Munson of the Chicago Albumen Works and Jeffrey Warda of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will be giving a presentation: “Acquisition and Creation of Exhibition Copies for Slide Works” on Friday April 27th at this year’s TechFocus II: Caring for Film and Slide Art workshop in Washington DC at the Hirshhorn Museum.

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