We offer a full range of photograph conservation treatment and consulting services. Each client and work of art is unique, and so we work closely with our clients to provide solutions to fit their goals and the needs of their artwork. Our most common services are the conservation treatment of individual historic or fine art photographs, providing condition surveys and collections care advice for photographic collections, and teaching workshops on the care and identification of photographs. Please contact us to discuss your individual needs.
Treatment | Digital Restoration | Collections Care and Surveys | Treatment of Deteriorated Cellulose Acetate Negatives | Education and Training | XRF Analysis and Rental | Disaster Planning and Recovery
We perform conservation/restoration work on historic and fine art photographs, works of art on paper, or collections of photographic materials of any kind from daguerreotype and glass plate negatives to gelatin silver and face-mounted color prints.
Conservation treatments range from surface cleaning and the repair of small tears to more complex stain removal and reassembly of torn and damaged photographs. Each treatment, from the family photograph album to the most valuable fine art print is approached with the same care and attention to detail.
Photographic documentation of our treatments is an important aspect of art conservation. Before and after photographs are included with every conservation treatment. In addition to written documentation of the treatment, these photographs provide important documentation on the nature and outcome of the work.
Gawain Weaver is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). All conservation treatments performed in our conservation studio are carried out in accordance with the AIC Code of Ethics.
Check out our before and after photographs for examples of some of our work.
Digital restoration of photographs and other graphic materials is a perfect complement to conservation treatment. After a photograph is treated, mended, or cleaned, it can be scanned, leaving only minor changes to be made digitally, and resulting in the best possible outcome—both for the long-term preservation of the object, and the most true to life digital restoration possible. While the focus of our services will always be the original object, scanning and other digital services are available on an individual basis when they are complementary to a conservation treatment.
Collections Care and Surveys
We offer a variety of services to assist with the care of photographs in museums, historical societies, libraries, other cultural institutions, and private collections. Surveys are often the first step in assessing a collection for long-term preservation planning purposes. As such, they are also the first step for many institutions in applying for grants for collections care improvements such as rehousing or cold storage. Surveys can be useful for the private collector to improve the safety of their collection and ensure its long-term preservation.
Our clients commonly hire us to:
- Perform a collections conservation assessment to establish priorites for collections care including storage conditions, conservation treatments, and rehousing
- Implement an environmental monitoring program and make recommendations based on the accumulated data that will enhance the long-term preservation of their collections
- Consult on cold storage planning and implementation
Among other sources for such grants, funding for general preservation assessments can be applied for by qualified institutions through NEH's Preservation Assistance Grants.
Treatment of Deteriorated Cellulose Acetate Negatives
From single negatives to large collections, we restore your deteriorated acetate negatives by removing the gelatin image layer from the deteriorating acetate support, scanning the image, and then returning it in an archival enclosure. The new digital file can also be reformatted to archival polyester-base sheet film for long-term preservation.
Education and Training
Workshops on all aspects of photograph conservation, preservation, and identification. Scheduled workshops both online and in-person are available and listed on the workshop page. Custom training, presentations, or workshops can be arranged on a wide range of topics and held either at our studio or at your location.
XRF Analysis and Rental
We now offer x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis on-site or in our studio, as well as rentals of our Bruker III-V+ handheld XRF unit by the day, week or month.
Please visit our new XRF page for details.
Disaster Planning and Recovery
No one ever expects it, but when water damage occurs to photographic materials they must be treated quickly to ensure the best results and prevent further damage. Photographs are particularly susceptible to serious and irreversible damage from floods caused by natural disasters, fires, or even small water leaks.
Consultation and site visits can be arranged as appropriate. Contact us for more information.
Here are two good reference articles on disaster recovery of photographic materials presented by two east coast conservation centers:
- Emergency Salvage of Wet Photographs, by Gary Albright
- Disaster Recovery: Salvaging Photograph Collections, by Debra Hess Norris [PDF]