TSG Chapter IV. Documentation of Textiles - Section E. Photographic Documentation

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The Textile Conservation Catalog

E. Photographic documentation

Date: April 2, 1998
Original Draft: Susan Heald
Contributors: Lucy Commoner, Judith Eisenberg, Patricia Ewer, Lorna Filippini, Gaelen Gorden, Martha Winslow Grimm, Jane Hutchins, Marlene Jaffe, Susan Anne Mathisen, Jane Merritt, Denise K. Migdail, Meredith Montague, Zoe Perkins, Sara Reiter, Gwen Spicer, Suzanne Thomassen-Krauss, Deborah Trupin
Editors: M. Cynthia Hughes, Jane Lynn Merritt, Deborah Trupin, Sara J. Wolf

Statement of Purpose

The Textile Conservation Catalog records current conservation treatments and practices for artistic and historic textiles. Each chapter compiles the variety of treatments and techniques currently used by textile conservators. The Catalog is a voluntary, cooperative project of the Textile Specialty Group of the AIC. Participating members have developed and commented extensively on the chapters.

The Catalog is in the form of an outline. There are no detailed instructions for treatment, and the Catalog does not seek to establish definitive methods or standards. Entries are qualifies by including “factors to consider,” however the inclusion of a treatment in the Catalog is not an endorsement or approval of the procedures described. The Catalog is designed for trained textile conservators who are familiar with the vocabulary and processes included in the outlines. Chapters are intended to be a guide in the treatment decision-making process and allow conservators to explore treatment options. Each conservator remains responsible for the safety and appropriateness of any treatment.

Although the focus of the Catalog is conservation treatment, related subjects such as environment, storage, and exhibition are included, but only insofar as the describe issues met and actions taken by textile conservators.

Final Revision, April 2, 1998

7.4.1 Photography imposes some risks to the object
7.4.2 Photographs should include
7.4.3 The object should fill the frame, including if possible

Photographs should record original condition as well as changes made during treatment. Photographs should be taken in ambient lighting, and in other lighting situations to show particular information, such as distortions (raking light), or auto-fluorescence (UV light).

7.4.1 Photography imposes some risks to the object

A. Exposure to light (including UV component) and heat from lamps.
B. Rapid change in temperature and relative humidity surrounding object as lights are turned on and off.
C. Stress from handling. [N.B. if the photography is not done by the conservator, clear handling instructions and precautions should be provided to the photographer.]

7.4.2 Photographs should include

A. Overall front and back views
B. Details of damage.
C. Before and after shots of the conserved areas, and detail shots of the conservation treatment.
D. Photomicrographs, if applicable.

7.4.3 The object should fill the frame, including if possible

A. Object ID number.
B. Name of owner.
C. Date and treatment phase (before, during, after treatment).
E. Gray or color scale depending on film type.
F. Size scale.
G. Front/back views.


To ensure reproducibility of photographs, record the following information (in the report, on a photographic record sheet, as part of the photograph, on the back of the photograph, or on the slide frame)

A. ID, date, phase of treatment (as above).
B. Type of film and ASA/ISO.
C. Type of illumination, placement and level of lights.
D. Exposure time and f-stop.
E. Magnification.
F. Location of shot (i.e., front, proper right sleeve, etc.).

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