History of the Photographic Materials Group

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Date initiated February 2014
Contributors Luisa Casella, Alejandra Mendoza, Stephanie Watkins


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Photographic Materials Group



The Photographic Materials Group of the American Institute for Conservation was officially formed with a signed article of incorporation in August 1979, making it the first Specialty Group within AIC. Initially, its members met annually at the general AIC meetings and at an annual winter meeting specific to the group. By 1989, biennial winter meetings replaced the yearly ones. The PMG Specialty Group has between 250 to 400 AIC members a year. Members can find the Latest Discussion Posts and membership totals at the Online Community Forum.

The PMG goals are:

A. To encourage and facilitate the exchange of ideas and information about photograph conservation and to promote the development of sound conservation practices.
B. To promote the publication of scholarly articles on photograph conservation and related topics.
C. To develop closer ties with other related disciplines, and to disseminate responsible information on the care of photographs

Publications

The PMG encourages the publication of books, periodical resources, articles and other useful tools like sample sets. The PMG Publications Committee coordinates these efforts. PMG publications are divided into Books, Topics in Photographic Preservation (biannual periodical), PMG wiki, Photographic Print Sample Sets, and other publications (brochures, articles, forms).

Books

Coatings on Photographs: Materials, Techniques, and Conservation, edited by Constance McCabe, 2005. 
Platinum and Palladium Photographs: Technical History, Connoisseurship, and Preservation, edited by Constance McCabe, 2017.

Topics in Photographic Preservation

The Photographic Materials Group publishes Topics in Photographic Preservation biennially. It is a compilation of papers presented at PMG sessions during the annual meetings of the AIC and during PMG biennial winter meetings, but can also contain other submissions related to photographic materials. Published research and treatment is authored by scientists, conservators, and historians in the field. Although contributors are trained professionals, none of the papers in Topics are peer reviewed.

PMG Wiki

The PMG Wiki is an interactive and collaborative resource for conservators and conservation students to learn and share about topics in photograph conservation. It is a dynamic endeavor that aims to foster communication and connectivity through an active exchange of information on developing research and the current trends and needs of the field. For information on the Development of the PMG Wiki and the Photographic Materials Conservation Catalogs visit History of the PMG Wiki.

Photographic Print Sample Sets

Photographic Print Sample Sets are useful as research tools or for educational purposes. Four different sets of prints have been produced.

Set 1 Historic (created 2007, reprinted 2009)
These prints provide the opportunity to examine the general features and compare detailed characteristics of different processes. Each sample set includes five prints printed with the same 5 x 7 inch negative. Processes included are:
1. Cyanotype
2. Albumen Print
3. Salted Paper Print
4. Glossy Gelatin- Silver Printed-out Print
5. Matte Gelatin- Silver Developed-out Print
Set 2 Digital (created 2006)
The Digital Sample Set consists of 25 digital and traditional print samples all made from digital files. The sample set binder includes the following processes:
  1. Digital exposure to Chromogenic paper (under magnification: no "soft grid' apparent)
  2. Digital exposure to Chromogenic paper (under magnification: "soft grid' apparent)
  3. Digital exposure to silver dye bleach paper
  4. Digital exposure to silver gelatin fiber based paper
  5. Digital exposure to Chromogenic transparency film
  6. Digital exposure to silver gelatin film
  7. Fuji Pictrography
  8. Direct thermal (D1T1)
  9. Direct thermal transfer (D1T2)
  10. Dye diffusion thermal transfer (D2T2), also known as Dye Sublimation
  11. Electrophotography (black and white dry toner)
  12. Electrophotography (color dry toner)
  13. Electrophotography (liquid toner)
  14. Inkjet (liquid, dye based, continuous) on fine art paper
  15. Inkjet (liquid, pigment based, DOD [drop on demand]) on fine art paper
  16. Inkjet (monochrome liquid, DOD [drop on demand]) on fine art paper
  17. Inkjet (liquid, pigment based, DOD [drop on demand]) on uncoated paper
  18. Inkjet (liquid, pigment based, DOD [drop on demand]) on coated paper
  19. Inkjet (liquid, pigment-based, DOD [drop on demand]) on coated RC paper
  20. Inkjet (liquid, dye based, DOD [drop on demand]) on coated RC paper
  21. Inkjet (liquid, pigment based, DOD [drop on demand]) on coated paper
  22. Offset printing with AM screening
  23. Offset printing with FM screening
  24. Pigment transfer process from digitally produced separation negatives
  25. Thermal Autochrome
Set 3 Gelatin (created 2014)
This sample set consists of 8 sets of Silver Gelatin Developed-out Prints on vintage photographic papers. Each set includes 4 samples of the same paper type with these variations:
Sample 1: printed and processed
Sample 2: printed, processed and toned with selenium (Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner)
Sample 3: printed, processed and toned with a sulfur toner (Kodak Sepia Toner)
Sample 4:  fixed only (white)
Set 4 Analog (created 2018)
The set includes samples of 17 analog photographic processes: color prints, black and white prints, and the most popular negative and transparency films.

Other publications

  • The Photographic Information Record represents the effort by many colleagues to create an “international standard” for an artist’s questionnaire form. Available in thirteen languages. 
  • Conservation of Photographs: Thirty Years of Science. The lectures gathered in this book were written for the International Conference “Photo Conservation 2011-Thirty Years of Photograph Conservation Science” held in Logroño, Spain on June 20-23, 2011, by the Casa de la Imagen with the scientific direction by Ángel M. Fuentes. This is a Conservación Acceso Archivos Patrimoniales and PMG join publication. Table of contents
  • Caring for Photographs Brochure, from Caring for Your Treasures series, published by the AIC.

Yearly Timeline

History presented here is gathered from PMG executive council files, personal files and memories of the following individuals: Gary Albright, Luisa Casella, Alisha Chipman, Thomas M. Edmondson, Constance McCabe, Stephanie Watkins.

Year Chair Program Chair (Assistant Program Chair) Secretary-Treasurer PMG Winter Meeting Topics Vol. AIC Annual Meeting
1973 Kansas City, MO (1st)
1974 Cooperstown, NY (2nd)
1975 Mexico City, Mexico (3rd)
1976 Dearborn, MI (4th)
1977 Boston, MA (5th)
1978 Fort Worth, TX (6th)
1979 PMG forms, Aug 20th at University of Delaware Toronto, CA (7th)
1980 (8/79-5/80) Jose Orraca Gary Albright San Francisco, CA (8th)
1981 (6/80-5/81) Jose Orraca Gary Albright Harry Ransom Center, Austin, TX Philadelphia, PA (9th)
1982 (6/81-5/82) Siegfried Rempel Debbie Hess Norris George Eastman House, Rochester, NY Milwaukee, WI (10th)
1983 (6/82-5/83) Siegfried Rempel Debbie Hess Norris Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL Baltimore, MD (11th)
1984 (6/83-5/84) Debbie Hess Norris (1st Term) Gary Albright Holly Maxson Louisville, KY Los Angeles, CA (12th)
1985 (6/84-5/85) Debbie Hess Norris Gary Albright Holly Maxson Philadelphia, PA Washington, DC (13th)
1986 (6/85-5/86) Debbie Hess Norris (2nd Term) Douglas Severson Debora Mayer Mills House Hotel & Hibernia Hall Charleston, SC Topics 1 Chicago, IL (14th)
1987 (6/86-5/87) Debbie Hess Norris Douglas Severson Debora Mayer New Orleans, LA Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (15th)
1988 (6/87-5/88) Douglas Severson Nora Kennedy Constance McCabe Topics 2 New Orleans, LA (16th)
1989 (6/88-5/89) 10 year anniversary Douglas Severson Nora Kennedy Constance McCabe Kansas City, MO Topics 3 Cincinnati, OH (17th)
1990 (6/89-5/90) Constance McCabe Robin Siegel Richmond, VA (18th)
1991 (6/90-5/91) Constance McCabe Robin Siegel National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Topics 4 Albuquerque, NM (19th)
1992 (6/91-5/92) Greg Hill Gary Albright Robin Siegel Buffalo, NY (20th)
1993 (6/92-5/93) Greg Hill Gary Albright Robin Siegel Harry Ransom Center, Austin, TX (Wilhelm Color Photography Session) Topics 5 Denver, CO (21st)
1994 (6/93-5/94) Sarah Wagner Barbara Brown Barbara Lemmen Nasvhille, TN (22nd)
1995 (6/94-5/95) Sarah Wagner Barbara Brown Barbara Lemmen National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC Topics 6 St. Paul, MN (23rd)
1996 (6/95-5/96) Carol Turchan Barbara Lemmen Nancy Reinhold Norfolk, VA (24th)
1997 (6/96-5/97) Carol Turchan Barbara Lemmen Nancy Reinhold SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA Topics 7 San Diego, CA (25th)
1998 (6/97-5/98) Gary Albright Andrew Robb Monique Fischer Arlington, VA/ Washington, DC (26th)
1999 (6/98-5/99) 20 year anniversary Andrew Robb Thomas M. Edmondson Monique Fischer Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography Symposium & Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA Topics 8 Dallas, TX (27th)
2000 (6/99-5/00) Andrew Robb Thomas M. Edmondson Monique Fischer Philadelpia, PA (28th)
2001 (6/00-5/01) Andrew Robb Thomas M. Edmondson Monique Fischer Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX Topics 9 Dallas, TX (29th)
2002 (6/01-5/02) Thomas M. Edmondson (1st Term) Lee Ann Daffner Theresa Andrews Miami, FL (30th)
2003 (6/02-5/03) Thomas M. Edmondson Lee Ann Daffner Theresa Andrews (secretary); Stephanie Watkins (acting treasurer) Ballaja Headquarters, San Juan, Puerto Rico Topics 10 Arlington, VA/ Washington, DC (31st)
2004 (6/03-5/04) Thomas M. Edmondson (2nd Term) Paul Messier Dana Hemmenway Portland, OR (32nd)
2005 (6/04-5/05) Thomas M. Edmondson Paul Messier Dana Hemmenway City of Vancouver Archives, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Topics 11 Minneapolis, MN (33rd)
2006 (6/05-5/06) Marc Harnly Laura Downey-Staneff Dana Hemmenway Providence, RI (34th)
2007 (6/06-5/07) Marc Harnly Laura Downey-Staneff Dana Hemmenway George Eastman House, Rochester, NY (joint meeting with ICOM-CC Photographic Materials Group) Topics 12 Richmond, VA (35th)
2008 (6/07-5/08) Adrienne Lundgren Lyzanne Gann Erin Murphy Denver, CO (36th)
2009 (6/08-5/09) 30 year anniversary Adrienne Lundgren Lyzanne Gann Erin Murphy Contemporary Museum of Photography, Tuscon, AZ Topics 13 Los Angeles, CA (37th)
2010 (6/09-5/10) Barbara Brown (1st Term) Monique Fischer Rachel Wetzel Milwaukee, WI (38th)
2011 (6/10-5/11) Barbara Brown Monique Fischer Rachel Wetzel Ottawa, National Archives and Library of Canada Topics 14 Philadelphia, PA (39th)
2012 (6/11-5/12) Barbara Brown (2nd Term) Monique Fischer Rachel Wetzel Albuquerque, NM (40th)
2013 (6/12-5/13) Barbara Brown Monique Fischer Rachel Wetzel National Library of New Zealand, Wellington, NZ (joint meeting with ICOM-CC Photographic Materials Working Group) Topics 15 Indianapolis, IN (41st)
2014 (6/13-5/14) Sylvie Pénichon Sarah Freeman Alisha Chipman San Francisco, CA (42nd)
2015 (6/14-5/15) Sylvie Pénichon Sarah Freeman Alisha Chipman Harvard, Cambridge, MA Topics 16 Miami, FL (43rd)
2016 (6/15-5/16) Sylvie Pénichon Tram Vo Alisha Chipman (one year, move to stagger officers) Montreal, Canada (44th)
2017 (6/16-5/17) Sylvie Pénichon Tram Vo Saori Kawasumi Lewis The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO Topics 17 Chicago, IL (45th)
2018 (6/17-5/18) Barbara Lemmen Tatiana Cole Saori Kawasumi Lewis Houston, TX (46th)
2019 (6/18-5/19) 40 year anniversary Barbara Lemmen Tatiana Cole Heather Brown New York Public Library, NYC, NY (joint meeting with ICOM-CC Photographic Materials Working Group) Topics 18 Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT (47th)
2020 (6/19-6/20) Maria Fernanda Valverde Katie Sanderson Heather Brown Virtual Meeting (48th) (pandemic)
2021 (7/20-5/21) Maria Fernanda Valverde Katie Sanderson (Amanda Maloney) Ronel Namde Harry Ransom Center, Austin, TX: Meeting postponed to annual AIC meeting (pandemic) Topics 19 Jacksonville, FL (49th)
2022 (6/21-5/22) (Amanda Maloney) Ronel Namde Los Angeles, CA (50th)
2023 (6/22-5/23) Pending membership discussion: potential site, Harry Ransom Center, Austin, TX Topics 20 (51th)
2024' (6/23-5/24) Salt Lake City, UT (52th)
2025 (6/24-5/25) Topics 21 (53th)
2026 (6/25-5/26) (54th)

Further Reading

Interviews with Nora Kennedy and Martin Jürgens are accessible at various Conservation Programs libraries in CD format.


Copyright 2020. Photographic Materials Group Wiki is a publication of the Photographic Materials Group of the American Institute for Conservation. It is published as a convenience for the members of thePhotographic Materials Group. Publication does not endorse nor recommend any treatments, methods, or techniques described herein. Please follow AIC's guidelines for citing wiki content, keeping in mind that it is a work in progress and is frequently updated.


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