15 December, 2023

Photographs: Collection Care and Management

In November 2023, a three-week online lecture series on Photographs: Collection Care & Management was organised by the Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bangalore, designed and supported by the Tata Trusts Art Conservation Initiative.

The series was intended to inform a diverse audience on the depth and complexity of topics related to conservation and care of photographs. The series comprised of 15 lectures spread across three weeks to introduce key concepts in collection and care of photographs, including identification of types of photographs, signs of deterioration, tools for preventive conservation, housing and documentation.

The different types of photographic materials discussed during this series included daguerreotypes, calotypes and wet plate, salt prints, albumen, kallitype, platinum, gum, cyanotype, dry plate collodion, dry plate emulsion, silver gelatin dry plate, silver gelatin print, acetate, polyester, cellulose nitrate and digital prints.

The series was helmed by Anupam Sah, senior art conservator and academic consultant to the Art Conservation Initiative, with sessions by leading Indian and international faculty specialising in photographs conservation and collection care.

The three-week online series, which was open to the general audience, saw an active participation from students, designers, photographers, conservators, archivists, and more. After the completion of the online lecture series, a one-week in-person workshop was organised at the MAP Conservation Centre in Bangalore, where 10 participants were invited from across collections that MAP had engaged with through field surveys, to learn – hands-on – the tenets of emergency repair and best practices in preventive conservation of photographs.

Some highlights from the online series and the offline workshop are presented here.