Topics in Photographic Preservation now available online

pmg-siteDear colleagues,

It is with great enthusiasm that we announce Topics in Photographic Preservation, the Photographic Materials Group (PMG) biennial publication since 1986, is now available online: 

To date PMG has published 15 volumes of Topics in Photographic Preservation with volume 16 to be printed soon. This new website, managed by PMG with AIC support is hosted by CoOL (Conservation OnLine), and makes volumes 1-14 available to the public online for the first time. Future volumes will continue to be added 2-3 years after their initial publication.

This new Topics website also points users to additional photographic preservation articles published in the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation (JAIC), and other resources created by PMG available for sale via the AIC store (

Completing this project has taken significant commitment during our tenures as PMG Chair and Publication Committee Coordinator. That said, there are many that assisted in making this valuable resource possible both before and during our tenures and we would like to thank all those who contributed over the years, especially Brenda Bernier, Paul Messier, Lisa Duncan, Brian Raniewicz, and Bonnie Naugle.


Sylvie Penichon
PMG Chair

 Jae Gutierrez
PMG Publications Committee Coordinator

Please also note these conservation publications are freely available on CoOL:

See more at, and learn more about AIC’s specialty group publications on our website! 


Call for Papers: ICOM-CC Photographic Materials Working Group Interim Meeting 2016 (Due: January 15, 2016)

ICOM-CC Photographic Materials Working Group Interim Meeting 2016
September 21-24, 2016, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Meeting theme: Uniques & Multiples
Call for Papers
The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Photographic Materials Working Group of ICOM-CC are pleased to announce a Call for Papers for the 2016 Photographic Materials Working Group Interim Meeting, scheduled for 21-24 September 2016 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This meeting is an important gathering of photograph conservators and historians from all over the world. Past meetings have been held in Wellington, Athens, Rochester, and Paris, among other locations. The 2016 meeting will be comprised of two days of workshops and tours (21-22 September, optional) followed by two days of lectures and a poster display (23-24 September).
Lecture Day 1 will be dedicated to the meeting theme: Uniques & Multiples.
The joint contemplation of the unique and the multiple touches upon the very essence of photography, from its beginnings in the 19th century until the present. While seemingly contradictory, the two concepts are actually inextricably linked and can be explored on many levels. Nicéphore Niépce, for example, was concerned with the reproduction of works of art in order to multiply and disseminate images of them, and yet in fact very few photographic artefacts form his legacy. Daguerre’s process produced a unique photographic object, but many thousands of daguerreotypes can be found in collections today. Early pioneers duplicated daguerreotypes by etching and printing from them or by creating galvanic copies; these techniques then became obsolete within years of their invention.
In our digital era of mass photography, unique analogue processes such as ambrotypes and tintypes are flourishing. Most recently, a 20th century photographic unique, the instant print, teetered on the brink of obsolescence as a result of the takeover of digital photography, but it has been revived and is currently thriving. Many questions remain unanswered on the materials and techniques, but also on the conservation and exhibition of unique photographs, such as daguerreotypes, photogenic drawings, colour screen plates, and contemporary prints with applied media; and serial objects, such as numbered editions of colour photographs and inkjet prints, may pose ethical and practical questions of reprinting and replacement. These and other technically and temporally recurrent variations of the unique and the multiple will be studied in breadth and depth on the first day of the conference.
Lecture Day 2: Free conservation topics
All original submissions covering topics relevant to the analysis, treatment, study and care of photographic materials will be considered.
Key dates to remember:
January 15, 2016        Submission deadline for abstracts for talks and posters
March 1, 2016            Notification of speakers and authors
March 15, 2015          Announcement of programme, Registration opens
Sept. 21-22, 2016       Workshops and tours
Sept. 23-24, 2016       Interim meeting
Conference Websites
Greg Hill, Coordinator ICOM-CC Photographic Materials Working Group
Martin Jürgens, Conservator of Photographs, Rijksmuseum

43rd Annual Meeting – Photographic Materials, May 16th, "Characterization of the Diane Arbus Archive" by Janka Krizanova

Janka Krizanova, Research Scholar in Photograph Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has focused her time at the Met on the in-depth study of the Diane Arbus Archive. The Diane Arbus Archive was acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2007 and contains 800 final prints, 800 work prints, over 6,200 rolls of film, over 6,500 contact sheets, the artist’s personal library, photographic ephemera and equipment. Krizanova’s tasks of characterizing the materials in the archive can seem quite overwhelming but the wealth of materials offers a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the artist’s working method.
After completing an overview of the archive, Krizanova selected 26 photographs that were representative of the different papers used by Arbus. One remarkable aspect to the archive is the presence of several empty photographic paper boxes. This aids in the characterization of the papers in the archive. Krizanova was able to find and obtain unexposed boxes of paper and paper catalogs by different manufactures that correlated with the empty boxes in the archive. Using a step tablet, Krizanova printed several of the papers she purchased to perform comparative analysis with the selected papers in the archive. She is in the process of performing the technical characterization on the 26 representative photographs in the Arbus archive, 5 printed reference samples, and three paper catalogs.
The characterization Krizanova will perform includes: dimensions, thickness, backprinting, surface topography, XRF, color measurements, and fiber ID. She has already collected the dimensions, thickness, back printing, and surface topography of the selected materials. The 26 representative prints in the archive exhibit a range of dimensions including; 8×10, 8 ½x11, 11×14, and 20×26. The thickness measurements illustrate Arbus used both single and double weight papers. Backprint was present on 8 of the 26 prints; five with Agfa and three with Kodak. The surface topography suggests Arbus typically used smooth, glossy papers and she likely used Kodak Ektamatic SC for her contact sheets.
For the last year of her fellowship, Krizanova plans to broaden the selection of prints to characterize in the archive, continue to work on the surface topography using the “texturescope” developed by Paul Messier, and collect the XRF, color measurements, and fiber ID from the selected samples. Krizanova also plans to conduct analysis on the stabilization prints found in the archive. At the end of her fellowship Krizanova intends to publish a paper about the technical characterization of the Diane Arbus archive.

43rd Annual Meeting – Photographic Materials, May 14, "Object:Photo – A Presentation of Deep Data from the Thomas Walther Collection Project at The Museum of Modern Art" by Lee Ann Daffner

Object:Photo | MoMA
MoMA Object:Photo Home Page

After The Museum of Modern Art acquired the Thomas Walther Collection, a rare collection of fine art photographs made primarily between World War I and World War II, MoMA was awarded a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to conduct a comprehensive study of the collection.  The survey culminated in a symposium, publication, exhibition, and interactive website sharing the data collected during the four-year endeavor.
During the Photographic Materials Group Session, Lee Ann Daffner focused on the data collected during the survey and the way in which the interactive Object:Photo website uses the analysis to build relationships between photographs by geography, exhibitions, artistic schools and spheres of influence.  The site is designed to encourage organic browsing by the user by highlighting action links in red, a bright contrast to the black and white theme reminiscent of the silver gelatin photographs which largely make up the collection. Before reading further about the project, I recommend spending time exploring the site, available at It’s rich with information, yet feels more like wandering through an exhibition than browsing a website full of technical data.
Not only does Object:Photo make the Thomas Walther Collection images available online, it also highlights technical and historical data of each image. High resolution images of the front and back of each photograph, specular images highlighting the surface texture and sheen, detailed description of the photographic paper and technical analysis, as well as essays, exhibitions, and related articles are included to enrich each photograph in the collection.
In collaboration with Paul Messier, polynomial texture map (PTM) and microraking images of paper texture were created. This setup and process is illustrated and described beautifully in the Materials section of the site, and Mr. Messier outlined similar protocols for analysis later in the conference during his presentation titled “Revealing Affinities across Collections through the Language of the Photographic Print.”
Linking artwork with technical analysis, Object:Photo places each photograph in context in comparison to the others an artistic expression of the world between the two world wars. The presentation of the material is geared toward universal understanding by both scholars and museum visitors because “it was important to share all the data,” according to Ms. Daffner. MoMA’s data on x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis, fiber analysis and paper thickness is available for download in Microsoft Excel file format.
While this website pertains only to the Thomas Walther Collection and the research conducted during the four-year survey, the Object:Photo project is an excellent example to other institutions who may conduct similar surveys in the future.  Ms. Daffner and MoMA should be proud to encourage the development of industry standards and research protocols with Object:Photo. Please take the opportunity to explore MoMA’s Object:Photo site at

43rd Annual Meeting – Photographic Materials Session, May 16, "Revealing Affinities across Collections through the Language of the Photographic Print" by Paul Messier

Paul Messier

The language used to describe silver gelatin prints revolves around four main attributes: paper tint, thickness, texture, and surface sheen.  These characteristics are advertised subjectively in paper manufacturers’ descriptions using terms such as “warm”,  “double weight”, “smooth” or “glossy”. But what do these terms really mean when side by side comparisons of prints denoted as “glossy” by their respective manufacturers exhibit a striking visual difference in surface sheen?  A need to quantify these terms was apparent, and Paul Messier delivers with a repeatable, interoperable, and non-invasive protocol which he presented during the Saturday afternoon photography session at AIC’s 43rd Annual Meeting.

Kodak Photographic Papers
The protocol for obtaining measurements of thickness, paper tint, and surface sheen is fairly straightforward and employs tools well-known to conservators and scientists to collect the data. A micrometer measures thickness of the paper in millimeters; a glossmeter records the surface sheen in gloss units; and a spectrophotometer calculates the paper tint (highlights) using  L*a*b* values. Quantifying texture, however, was not as simple, so Messier challenged teams from several universities to come up with a characterization algorithm based on images of the surface of photographic papers  under the magnification in raking light.  Using area-scale fractal analysis, the teams were able to meet his request and translate the 2-D images into information about the 3-D surface texture of silver gelatin papers from Messier’s extensive personal collection.
Once the four values described above are calculated, Messier gives them context by plotting them on a diagram based on percentile within each category. A diamond-shaped field is created with texture represented on top, thickness to the right, surface sheen on the bottom, and paper tint on the left (see image below).  So called “practical” papers (smooth, glossy, neutral white, and single weight) tend to have points lying near the middle of the diagram while more “expressive” papers ( rough, matte, war m-toned, and thick ) have points towards the outer edges. These diagrams are useful for comparing prints across collections, interpreting artist’s intent, dating, and matching paper type and manufacturers to a growing database of known papers evaluated in this way.
The first large scale project using this method was carried out by Messier and his team to characterize prints in the Thomas Walther collection at the Museum of Modern Art and then compare them to prints made from the same negative at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  Messier’s essay on this subject in MoMA’s Object: Photo website and publication is titled Image Isn’t Everything: Revealing Affinities across Collections through the Language of the Photographic Print (see link below).  In addition to essay, the website also provides a clear description of the Messier’s protocol and includes specifications about the equipment and setup.  Broader applications for this data are still being discovered, and the protocol is currently being used by the Center for Creative Photography to map the gelatin silver papers used by Harry Callahan.  With this, Mesier presents a working method for the objective analysis of basic paper characteristics which still “honors and preserves the language that photographers knew and used.”
Link to Essay:

43rd Annual Meeting – Photographic Materials, May 14th: “Organizing a Photograph Preservation Workshop in West Africa” by Debra Norris

Debra S. Norris, Chair of the Art Conservation Department and Professor of Photograph Conservation at the University of Delaware, is enthusiastic about fund raising for art conservation. Along with her coauthors, Nora W. Kennedy and Bertrand Lavédrine, she encourages conservation education and the expansion of international networks for all conservators. These two major contributions for the conservation profession were the bases for the project presented during this talk: Organizing a Photograph Preservation Workshop in West Africa.
Norris started by evoking the need for photographic conservation in West Africa, and the previous projects organized in Sub-Saharan Africa by the Getty, ICCROM, the Ford Foundation, SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) and UNESCO. Then she presented the “3PA”: Préservation du Patrimoine Photographique Africain (Preservation of Photographic Heritage in Sub Saharan Africa), a collaborative project developed with Nora W. Kennedy, photograph conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, and Bertrand Lavédrine, director of the Conservation Research Center (CRC) of Paris. Their goal is to work on the improvement of the preservation practice in this particular area of the continent, where the photographic collections are highly valuable but vulnerable because of the environment.
Last year, from the 22nd to the 25th of April, a workshop has been held at the Ecole du Patrimoine Africain (EPA), in Porto-Novo (Benin). It was called “Préservation du Patrimoine Photographique Africain: West African Image Lab“. 21 participants (80% of them were artists or photographers, the others were museum and archive professionals and curators) attended the workshop, and discussed the preservation of local photographic collections of West Africa; adapted solutions were proposed. Organizers were Jennifer Bajorek and Erin Haney, co-creator of the Resolution organization. Founded in 1998 with the help of UNESCO and ICCROM, and based in Porto Novo in Benin, the EPA school offers a professional training for 26 sub Saharan countries. It is a non-profit institution, dedicated to photographic collections in Africa, with a focus on preservation, collection management, and exhibitions.
Norris then evoked Nigerian photographers and collectors met by Nora W. Kennedy and Peter Mustardo, photograph conservator and director of the Better Image in New York, who went to Nigeria. She shortly presented the work of three of them: Andrew Esiebo, Abraham Oghobase, and J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, whose artist book, containing 200 photographs, was published a few months after he passed away, in 2014. Kennedy and Mustardo met his son who owns the collection.
As Norris aims to connect different conservation initiatives, she promoted the project “History in progress Uganda”, created in 2011 by a Dutch photographer and an advertiser. Their goal is to acquire and to diffuse images about Uganda history. According to Norris, this action, like 3PA’s, must proceed in connection with education and community organization.
She promoted the Center for Contemporary Art in Lagos (Nigeria), “an independent non-profit making visual art organization set up in December 2007 to provide a platform for the development, presentation, and discussion of contemporary visual art and culture” (see their website). Bisi Silvia, the founder, curator, and director of CCA was a participant of the 2014 workshop at the EPA.
For the future, 3PA’s goals will consist in organizing more workshops to teach the fundamentals in photo preservation in sub-Saharan countries. The conservation professionals will explain “the keys concepts in preventive conservation and materials”, spend some time on both hands-on and lecture, visit collections, and share some tools kits and published resources. Brainstorming sessions about techniques will follow. She emphasized on the fact that the 2014 workshop was the first talk about conservation in French and English in Africa. As photographers are an important part of the participants, development of conservation strategies for photographers in West Africa will be discussed. Funding for the workshop in photograph preservation was made possible thanks to many sponsors that Norris listed – AIC/PMG was one of them.
Some observations were done. First, to Norris, “community engagement and connections are clear” in Africa, which is a wonderful advantage. Then, the specific challenges: “lack of electricity”, and “dealing with material and digital collections simultaneously”. For the EPA, in Benin, where the workshop happened, the next steps will consist in “renewing commitment to preservation of photo collections”. Thanks to the “saving photo heritage” website, they began to rise money to create “a major center for photographic preservation, archiving, and digitization on the African continent”. Every one can help them!
The next 3PA workshop will be held in 2017 in Zimbabwe.
She finished the talk with a quick look on beautiful African textiles!
To discover the Nigerian photographers:
About the Center for Contemporary Art in Lagos:
About the Ecole du Patrimoine Africain in Porto Novo:
Resolution organization:
History in Progress Uganda:
To help Saving the Photographic Heritage:

AIC 43rd Annual Meeting – The Daguerreotype Uncovered: An Overview of the Surface and Subsurface Chemistry, Physics and Material Science Underlying the First Photographic Process Based on Electron Microscopial Studies. Patrick Ravines

This presentation was delivered by Patrick Ravines, Director and Associate Professor, Buffalo State University. Co-authors include Peter Bush, Lisa Chan, Natasha Erdman, Lingjia Li, Rob McElroy, and Anne West.
Patrick et al have been using electron microscopy to investigate the surface and subsurface of daguerreotypes. They have created fresh plates for the investigation, and have used these analytical techniques during each stage of preparation. They have made discoveries including how scratches to the surface Ag are not always completely removed during the polishing process, polishing removes approximately 1 mm of Ag, and fuming with I2 creates a discontinuous layer of AgI across the plate. One interesting thing Patrick noted was how upon placing a sensitized daguerreotype plate in an SEM, the electron beam produced enough energy to cause the AgI particles to print out before their eyes. After exposure to Hg vapor, they were able to observe the Ag-Hg particles from various angles and discern that there are many other cluster shapes than cubic and hexagonal. Using lasers, they drilled into the daguerreotype surface, created cross-sections, and observed the subsurface voids. Patrick discussed their believe that the subsurface voids are the result of Ag migrating up to the surface to form the image material, leaving behind an absence of material. This work will be published soon in more detail.
Patrick noted that professionals in the electronics industry are using similar materials, Ag and Au, and they are finding similar subsurface voids.

AIC 43rd Annual Meeting – A Glimpse from the Dawn of Photography: Investigation and Stabilization of an Early Daguerreotype from 1839 at the Peabody Essex Museum. Elena Bulat and Kathryn Carey

For this presentation Kathryn Carey, paper conservator at the Peabody Essex Museum (Massachusetts), introduced the project and the museum. The Peabody Essex received an early daguerreotype dated 1839 from a donor in 1858. The image is of Pont Neuf in Paris, and the plate is tentatively attributed to Vincent Chevalier, or Daguerre himself. The daguerreotype was “rediscovered” in 2008 and Elena Bulat, photograph conservator at Harvard University’s Weissman Preservation Center, was contracted to perform analysis and treatment. The daguerreotype was housed in the European style with a paper passe-partout and framed. Elena’s work consisted of opening the package, digitally imaging the plate, performing XRF on the plate and FTIR on the glues, fiber analysis of the papers, observation and imaging under UV radiation, removal of superficial dust from the plate with a manual air blower, replacement of the old passe-partout  and cover glass with new but similar materials, and rebinding. XRF revealed low levels of Hg and no Au. S was found in tarnish areas, and no Cl was found. These results in conjunction with observation under UV confirm the identification of this plate as an early 19th century daguerreotype that was cleaned. FTIR revealed beeswax, and fiber analysis found bast and cotton fibers in the paper components. The new housing for the plate consisted of a backing piece of borosilicate glass, a window mat of borosilicate glass, and a new cover glass (also borosilicate). The plate was secured between these layers with a mylar Z-tray. Elena recommended the plate not be exhibited as it was not stabilized by gold toning.
Elena described her experience speaking with a reporter from the Boston Globe regarding this project, and how he had difficulty grasping the concept that “treatment” does not necessarily mean intervention. This rang true for me, and I imagine for many other conservators in the audience. You can read the article here:

PMG Winter Meeting – “New Insights into the Composition and Permanence of the Silver-Platinum Satista Paper and the Satista Prints of Paul Strand” by Lisa Barro

Lisa Barro covered new technical information about Satista paper and related topics on preservation of Paul Strand’s Satista prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


At the beginning, Barro introduced Satista paper and informed the audience that the current research is building on the previous research presented at the 2003 PMG Winter Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico and published in Topics in Photographic Preservation, Volume 10: Lisa Barro, The Deterioration of Paul Strand’s Satista Prints.


Satista is a silver-platinum paper introduced in 1914. It was a cheaper alternative to platinum, before palladium paper was introduced. The Strand prints on this paper at the Met show overall fading and discoloration as well as local staining. Barro mentioned that there is a slim chance that the prints under study are platinum-toned barytaless silver paper rather than Satista, but this is unlikely, based on historical information about Strand’s papers. She also mentioned that it is unclear whether or not the Satista paper itself is causing this type of deterioration. It might be that just this group of prints that Strand made is deteriorating in this way, due to the processing, storage history, or other variables. It is possible that there are Satista prints in collections in good condition, perhaps presently identified as platinum prints. Further study and more XRF data will help make those determinations.


As part of the research published in Topics in 2003, Barro concluded that the deterioration was related to sulfiding combined with finely divided silver particles and staining possibly related to residual chemistry, but there have been many questions raised by this research. Some of these questions were related to characterization of Satista paper:

  • Does Satista paper have what is called a Japine surface?
  • Was there bromine in Satista paper, because the patent mentioned bromine in addition to chlorine?
  • Some historical literature mentions gelatin, so is it possible that there could be gelatin present as a sizing or binder?


Conservators who heard Barro speak at PMG in 2003 have since asked her practical questions related to preservation:

  • Should we exhibit these prints?
  • How quickly are they changing?
  • How sensitive are these prints?


This talk addressed these questions by sharing new findings from analyzing 15 years of spectrophotometric data collected from Paul Strand’s Satista prints before and after exhibition, as well as performing analysis on an unprocessed Satista paper with a range of techniques: transmission FTIR, ELISA, SEM-EDX, Raman spectroscopy and XRF. (The pack of unprocessed postcard-sized Satista paper was a gift from photographer Alison Rossiter in 2010.)


In general, the analytical results of this study shed some light on the questions above. The study showed no gelatin or bromine in the Satista paper. The question about the Japine surface is as yet unanswered; whether or not Satista has a parchmentized surface is still being investigated. If it does, it is thinner than observed in other prints. Barro also showed SEM images that illustrate where the silver and platinum salts are situated in the unprocessed paper in cross-section (the silver to platinum ratio was 12.5:1), but the implications for processed prints are not yet known. While analyzing the unprocessed Satista paper provided valuable information, it is possible that there were different surfaces made by the Platinotype Company.


To answer the questions related to exhibition and change in the prints over time, they used spectrophotometric data collected over 15 years at the Met. Color monitoring of the photograph collection at the museum began in 1992. Dana Hemmenway conducted a baseline study in 1999, and today the museum continues to collect data before and after exhibition to learn more about change during exhibition and storage periods. Katie Sanderson is the primary collector of this data at the museum. She takes measurements before and after exhibition in Dmin, Dmid and Dmax areas and evaluates the data using the CIE L*a*b* color space. Barro presented the findings that the overall rate of change for Satista prints is higher than for platinum, both in storage and on display. Using data for Strand’s portrait of Harold Greengard as illustration, she also demonstrated that the rate of change is measurably faster under exhibition conditions than during periods in storage. This data is still being interpreted and studied, and some data (such as different directions of change in different areas of the print) is posing new questions.  Research is ongoing, but based on these findings, the study suggests that the approach to exhibition of Satista prints should be conservative. They recommend 40 lux, a sealed package, cool storage, and color monitoring.


PMG Winter Meeting – "Characterization of Digital Output Media… Or How to Hit a Moving Target" by Monique Fischer, Feb. 20

During the first day of the meeting, Monique Fischer, senior photograph conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) gave a talk on her research on the characterization of digital output media. In 2010 Fischer was awarded a Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) guest conservation scholar position to conduct this research and although five years have passed since she started this work, the big picture concepts still remain relevant.
As photograph conservators know, many of the challenges associated with the preservation of digital output media are a result of the rapid development of technology and changes in product manufacture; in some cases materials have become obsolete, their formulations have changed, or their product name has changed. Due to these factors, the importance of gathering the “now” information was emphasized in the talk. This “now” information includes the collection of characterization data (type of paper, surface qualities, and component materials) from unused paper samples.
The impetus for this research project came in 2008 when Fischer noticed yellow stain formation on inkjet papers that had not yet been used. The sheets of inkjet paper were left in ambient conditions for about a year, and were only exposed to indoor air pollutants and some light; the uncovered areas of the paper showed signs of the yellow staining. In the talk, she noted other examples of yellow stain formation seen in different brands of inkjet papers: from consultations with artists as well as firsthand with the digital imaging department at NEDCC. In the latter instance, the staining occurred where the non-archival plastic packaging was in contact with the paper, prior to it being unwrapped. An important factor connecting the papers exhibiting yellow stain formation is that all possessed no optical brighteners (OBAs), and it is known that OBAs, a fluorescent component added to improve sheet brightness, may yellow when exposed to light and heat.
The research project had two major objectives: the creation of a digital paper characterization database and material analysis of paper samples. For the database, 241 paper samples were compiled and they are categorized to include: manufacturer and commercial name, thickness and weight, base substrate and composition, surface texture and finish, presence of OBAs, ink compatibility, and type of coating. Out of this, trends were documented, for instance, 81% of photographic inkjet papers contained OBAs, while only 31% of fine art inkjet papers contained OBAs. Additionally, OBAs were found in different layers of the inkjet papers.
Prior to looking at trends, Fischer notes the importance of using proper nomenclature for these materials. Part of her research includes the development of standardized terminology and she has turned to product discussion groups for photographers and practitioners using these different types of materials in order to gain insight on their current use and application. Though it is apparent that due to the proprietary nature of these materials, characterization may prove challenging.
The material analysis was carried out in conjunction with research scientists Dr. Dusan Stulik and Art Kaplan of the GCI. Initially, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was applied as a surface only technique, but due to limited sensitivity, minimally-destructive samples were taken. The findings from one type of inkjet paper were discussed, and in this paper sample, polyvinyl acetate (PVA) and a wax-like material as a possible coating and additive, respectively, were found.
Based on this finding, it was concluded that some coatings on inkjet papers may be PVA, a material widely used in many industries including the paper manufacture industry. In conservation, PVA has been documented as a relatively stable resin, and it is used for certain treatments in book conservation. However, it is possible that the stability of the resin is decreased when combined with additives – thus the yellow stain formation could be a result of degradation in the PVA coating. No conclusions were made on what caused the staining. Additional research goals include conducting gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) as a characterization technique.
Though not fully discussed in the talk, during the question and answer session, a question was asked regarding the impact of the printer profile on the stability of the inkjet print. Without hesitation, Fischer stated that the printer profile may have a tremendous impact on image permanence, specifically in color rendering and amount of ink used when using a manufacturer’s recommended printer profile or a custom printer profile. The main takeaway from her answer is that conservators should do their best [through artist interviews/consultations] to document as much information on an inkjet print including: printer profile, printer, type of paper, type of ink, et cetera, as these factors and their, potentially endless, combinations will greatly impact image permanence.