...Photographs should be protected from extended exposure to intense light sources. Limit exhibition times, control light exposure, and monitor the condition of the photographs carefully. Prolonged or permanent display of photographs is not recommended. Use unbuffered ragboard mats, and frame photographs with archivally sound materials. Use ultraviolet-filtering plexiglass to help protect the photographs during light exposure. Reproduce vulnerable or unique images and display the duplicate image; in this way, the original photograph can be properly stored and preserved.

Disaster preparedness begins by evaluating the storage location and the potential for damage in the event of a fire, flood, or other emergency. It is important to create a disaster preparedness plan that addresses the specific needs of the collection before a disaster occurs.

The location and manner in which photographs are housed can be the first line of defense. Identify photographic materials that are at higher risk of damage or loss. Remove all potentially damaging materials such as paper clips and poor-quality enclosures. Store negatives and prints in separate locations to increase the possibility of an image surviving a catastrophe. If a disaster occurs, protect the collection from damage by covering it with plastic sheeting and/or removing it from the affected area. If using plastic, make sure not to trap in moisture as this could lead to mold growth. Evaluate the situation and document the damage that has occurred. Contact a conservator as soon as possible for assistance and advice on the recovery and repair of damaged materials.

PS .If your photograph requires special attention or you are unsure about how to protect it, you should contact a conservator.To search for a conservator near you.

Cabaret of Spirits ATELIER

Cabaret of Spirits ATELIER

Treatment Options for Photographic Materials may include

mold removal
surface cleaning
stain reduction (only if possible and safe to do so)
tape and adhesive removal
separation from poor quality mounts
consolidation of cracked or flaking emulsion
mending tears or breaks
conservation of cased photographs and case repair
electro-cleansing of tarnished daguerreotypes
rehousing options
four-flap enclosures
clamshell boxes
polyester sleeves
conservation framing


Hundreds of millions of photographs have been lost over the years to natural disasters, wars, and the age-old urge to clean house. So there is something special about every old photograph that's survived. Someone decided to make it... someone else, to buy it... and a lot of someones decided to keep it over the years. Whether you're the caretaker of a treasured family album or a collector who has searched out the classics of photography, it's important to preserve and protect the images you value. Fortunately, there is new information about what to do and what to avoid. And there are specialized products available to help.



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~ *~ It all starts as a photographer... the path leads me to specialized in the conservation & application of fine art and historic photographs and restoration of paper ... working in my Boudoir, CABARETøf SPIRITS ~ *~

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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

the curtain falls

The history of the painted backdrop begins shortly after the invention of photography in the 1830s. When this new picture-making process caught on it spread throughout the world in an amazingly short period of time. Much of this early camera work was performed on rooftops and at other convenient outdoor locations in order to catch the greatest amount of daylight. Although basic lighting systems made it technically possible for photography to move indoors, it was the introduction of the artist's ingenious device, an outdoor scene painted onto a canvas backdrop, that revolutionized the concept of picture making and created the illusion of another reality. Photographers eventually left their studio environments with their painted backdrops to establish a new form of itinerancy. From that time forward the tradition of the roving portrait photographer evolved, flourished through several generations and has been sustained, albeit tenuously, right up to the present day.

What had once been a profitable occupation was greatly diminished by the market success of the introduction of George Eastman's inexpensive Kodak camera in the late 1580s, which soon became an everyday household item. Enthusiasts could suddenly enjoy the thrill of making their own pictures. This revolutionary change happened almost overnight in the United States, as well as in other industrialized nations, and its impact on photographers was severe. Nevertheless, itinerants kept to the road, supplying cheap photographs to people in outlying areas. Their work was greatly aided by the eye-catching backdrops they often carried with them.

The typical photographic backdrop can best be described as an oversized painting on an expanse of cloth, generally of some heavy cotton weave or thin, pliable canvas, measuring approximately 8x10 feet. Sometimes lengths of standard-width cloth are stitched together to fabricate the appropriate dimensions needed to form the back wall of an itinerant photographer's booth or to successfully isolate clients in order to create an environment that transcends the reality of the studio. Loops or ties are sewn to reinforced edges and corners for added strength when stretching the panel taut. Patrons sit or stand in front of the decorated panels to have their pictures taken.

As folk art the photographer's painted backdrop is an often overlooked but nevertheless significant example of vernacular painting. Created primarily by self-taught artisans, its large-scale imagery is designed to dominate the photographer's workspace. One of the fascinating aspects of photographing with a painted background is the transforming blend of magic and reality that makes the subject indistinguishable from the painting, an illusion that is confirmed by the photograph itself. This occurs when the person being photographed appears to become part of the chosen setting rather than being superimposed against it. The painter's expertise sometimes worked its charm so thoroughly that country folk who had been photographed in front of a lavishly painted cityscape half believed later on that they had actually visited a modern metropolis.

Since their initial use painted backgrounds have been indispensible tools of the photographer's trade along with furniture and other accessories used in studio setups. They are probably more important to traveling photographers because their function is to excite and lure customers to the photographer's booth. Unfortunately, no matter how colorful a backdrop was, the resulting image was still always black and white. An exception, of course, was another very effective innovation: the hand-tinted photograph. For the difference in price, however, most were content to patronize the old-fashioned "bucket photographer" with his pictorial backdrop.

In the Eastern U.S. during the 1870s, an immigrant New Yorker named Jose Mora operated a successful photography establishment that boasted more than 150 painted backgrounds. Among them were winter scenes, landscapes and seascapes, tropical vistas, ancient ruins, scenery from Egypt to Siberia, leafy bowers, vine-entwined columns, urns, exotic flowers, Moorish arches, neatly turned balustrades, steps and curving stairs, richly decorated Victorian house interiors, fine furniture and libraries stocked with simulated books. Most of these props were made by L. W. Seavey, a manufacturer of accessories for photographic galleries and considered by some "the first background painter of the world" . "First," in this case, must have meant "foremost," for around 1840 Antoine Claudet, a French daguerreotypist living in London, is credited with being the first to use a painted background. Not long afterward backdrops of many descriptions were in general use throughout the photographed world. Artists of various talents were called upon for this work. The best were, naturally, those painters with previous experience in creating similar large-scale murals such as theatrical [...]

Five women at Rockaway Beach, posed in a faux "Rockaway Beach" boat. This image should be from the popular period resort of Rockaway Beach near New York City, a period competitor for Atlantic City and today part of the borough of Queens.