42nd Annual Meeting – Photographic Materials, May 31, "Retouch Practices Revealed in the Thomas Walther Collection Project" by Lee Ann Daffner

MoMA‘s Thomas Walther collection contains over 340 photographs Walther collected from 1909 to 1949 in Eastern Europe, the United States, and Paris. Many of these photographs will be on exhibition at MoMA between November 08, 2014–April 26, 2015. The departments of Photography and Conservation at MoMA have been collaborating on researching this collection of Modernist photography which will culminate with a publication that will be available in early 2015 and a symposium on December 12, 2014. The results of this collaborative research will also be available on the OBJECT:PHOTO website which will include a timeline of Walther’s life and identification of photographs by location. The research Lee Ann presented at AIC focuses on artists’ working methods, specifically retouching techniques. Retouching can be done to either a print or a negative to enhance effects or mask imperfections. Retouching includes reductive techniques (such as scraping) versus additive techniques (painting, drawing, etc.), and an artist’s discretion to use any of these techniques can inform the viewer about the photographer’s intentions.
Summary by Greta Glaser, Owner of Photographs Conservation of DC