PMG Photographic Processes

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Photographic Materials Conservation Catalog
Photographic Processes
Date: Initiated January 2010
Contributors: Amy Brost, Luisa Casella, Tatiana Cole, Kim R. DuBoise, Lisa Duncan, Monique Fischer, Saori Kawasumi Lewis, Amanda Maloney, Laura Wahl, Stephanie Watkins

The Photographic Materials Conservation Catalog is created and maintained by the Photographic Materials Group of the American Institute for Conservation for the convenience of the membership. The treatments, methods, or techniques described herein are provided for informational purposes. The reader assumes responsibility for any application results or interpretation of information.

The Importance of Photographic Process Identification

Many photographic materials look similar, yet the chemistry behind them varies, thereby requiring different storage or treatment options for best preservation practice. A 30x hand-held magnifier helps with visual identification.

Useful resources

  • The Graphic Atlas of the Image Permanence Institute is a uniquely useful visual tool for assisting in process identification. Populated with excellent images, identification tips and comparison between processes are possible on this site.
  • Stulik, Dusan, and Art Kaplan. 2013. The Atlas of Analytical Signatures of Photographic Processes. Los Angeles, CA: Getty Conservation Institute. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/gci_pubs/atlas_analytical
  • CAMEO of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, contains information and representative images of various photographic materials, including a short reference list.
  • Gawain Weaver elaborated a useful controlled vocabulary of photographic processes that includes a list of synonyms and specific products associated with photographic processes.

Processes*

*After Bertrand Lavédrine's organizational structure with permission

Positives on Metal (See also Cased Photographs)
Heliograph
Daguerreotype
Tintype

Positives on Glass (See also Preservation of Glass in Photographic Materials)
Ambrotype (Positive Collodion) (See also Cased Photographs)
Autochrome
Lantern Slides
Opalines, Opaltypes

Positives on Plastic Film
Polaroid, SX-70, Polaroid or Fuji Emulsion-lift, Polaroid or Fuji Transfer
Holograms

Positives on Paper
Albumen
Lightly Albumenized Salt Print
Bromoil, Oil-Pigment
Carbon, Carbro, Ozotype, Anthrakotype, Ozobrome
Chrystotype
Cyanotype, Blueprint, Pellet Print
Collodion-Chloride Paper
Gum Bi/Dichromate
Platinum, Palladium
Silver Gelatin Printing-Out, Silver Gelatin Developing-Out, Resin Coated (RC), Photostat
VanDyke Brown, Kallitype, Brown Print, Sepia Print, Ferro-Gallic, Argentotype, Agyrotype

Mechanically Printed Positives on Paper
Collotype
Letterpress/Half-tone
Photogravure (etching)
Woodburytype: See also (Carbon, above)

Mechanically Printed Positives on Paper or Plastic
Computer-generated digital-sourced print (See also Digital Prints)

Negatives on Paper
Albumen Negatives
Cyanotype, Blueprint, Agyrotype
Salted Paper Negatives
Photogenic Drawings, Salted Paper Prints, and Calotype Prints

Negatives on Glass (See also Preservation of Glass in Photographic Materials)
Collodion (See also Cased Photographs)
Gelatin Dry-plate
Lantern Slides and Stereographs

Negatives on Plastic Film
Color Processes, Slides, Transparencies (See also Preservation of Traditional Color Photographic Materials)
Black and White silver gelatin negatives

Mechanically Printed Negatives on Paper or Plastic
Computer-generated digital-sourced print (See also Digital Prints)


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