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Caring for Photographs (Life Library of Photography, No. 17)
Caring for Photographs - Life Library of Photography, No. 17 Author:The Editors of Time-Life Books The upsurge of concern for the photograph as art has stimulated an interest in photographic technology that until recently seemed arcane, if not trivial. The delicate methods of restoring old pictures have assumed fresh importance now that the pictures of the pioneers are assessed at their true value. Concern lest deterioration spoil masterworks... more » of the present era has spurred the refinement of two quite different techniques: processing to guarantee maximum life for photographic images, and storage to help prevent harm from external dangers. In addition, when photographs are recognized as art, they must be given the display art deserves, in properly mounted print exhibitions and intelligently planned slide shows. These concerns have been the province of a small band of laboratory specialists and museum curators -- archival processing, in fact, is the term used for the techniques that guard prints and negatives from chemical destruction. Yet every photographer has old pictures he would like to restore, new ones he wants to preserve, some he hopes to display, and many others that he must index and file away.
Most of the techniques of restoration, storage and display are no more difficult than common photographic procedures. But they are special. Worked out largely by archivists and research scientists, they have been little known outside a small community of experts. This volume brings them together for the general photographer, showing in text pieces and easy-to-follow picture sequences how they are used. Walter Clark, former director of Applied Photographic Research at Kodak, explains why photographs are potentially so durable -- and why this potential is so seldom realized. Eugene Ostroff of the Smithsonian Institute demonstrates how to restore original quality to pictures made by half-forgotten processes of the past: calotypes, daguerreotypes, and ambrotypes. Procedures worked out especially for this book by the Time-Life Photo Lab show how to put back the colors lost from faded transparencies. And George A. Tice demonstrates ways to preserve images with some special printing techniques -- including a version of the seldom-used platinum printing process. The book also demonstrates the basic steps that are used in archival processing.
The object of restoring and preserving photographs is to keep them available for people to see and enjoy. A special photo essay shows the classic effort to bring the enjoyment of fine photographs to the public: the famed Family of Man exhibit prepared by Edward Steichen. Such an elaborate show may never again be attempted, but the principles that made it so successful can also guide the planning of smaller exhibits; they, like the other ideas outlined here, help all photographers to make more out of their pictures.« less