Gawain WeaverGawain Weaver: Conservation and Consulting Services in the Care of Historic and Fine Art Photographs

Care and ID of Photographs Workshop at Iowa State University Library

May 30, 2010

Iowa State University's Parks Library was the latest venue for my Care and ID of Photographs workshop from May 16-19, 2010. Hilary Seo, Head of Preservation at Iowa State University, invited me to teach there last month. The workshop was well attended by conservators, archivists, collectors, and preservation professionals. The weather was beautiful, and everything was green. The Ames campus is more like a park, abundant with grass and trees. It was also my first workshop in which participants received their own 60x handheld microscopes (LED lights and all!). The workshop improves just a little bit every time, based on my experiences teaching and participant feedback. Dennis Wendell from the Ames Historical Society attended the workshop, and brought some wonderful photographs for all of us to see. He wrote to me a few days after the workshop:

I knew there was more than just identifying CDVs, cabinet cards, Ambrotypes and tintypes. Your four-day workshop was absolutely terrific! I was finally able to understand the various photo processes due to your impressive depth of knowledge, effective ability to convey complex information, hands-on access to a large collection of examples and the incredible images incorporated into your PowerPoint. This was the very first time I've seen photos under a microscope, and was blown away, particularly by the projection computer microscope. It's very easy to become addicted to the fascinating history of photography. The identification sessions were extremely valuable in that they made us think about all the options, document what we saw and explain our conclusion. As in life itself, one particular specimen may not fit the pattern. I commend you for patiently explaining the extremely complex details of color photography.

It was a wonderful group of students in Ames, and I had a pleasure teaching (and learning) there. Every time I look at photographs, I learn something new, and I love this process of looking, discovering, teaching. It makes every workshop completely new.

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