Sunday, November 23, 2008

Changes from version 3 to version 4

In template 4 I incorporated new questions regarding treatment types and types of treated photographs, to complement the first part of the interview.

Also, I developed the third treatment topic question -about unmounting/remounting photographs.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Template for interviews, version 4

Institutions
Could you please tell me your name, job title and affiliation?
When was this conservation lab established and for how long have you been working here?

I.
-My next question relates to need for treatment. Considering that in an institutional reality, not all deteriorated photographs or not all photographs that present problems, can be treated or are treated, how do you select and prioritize the photographs that are going to be treated? What factors determine the need for treatment? [Potential answers: Exhibition/loan; established treatment plan/program; specific projects]
-If you had more resources would you propose the establishment a regular treatment program for the collection? (based on priorities)
-Broadly speaking what types of photographs are treated most frequently?
[Paper based photographs (traditional processes: salt prints, albumen prints, silver gelatin, platinum prints, pigment processes, cyanotypes), daguerreotypes, other early cased photographs, modern and contemporary processes (color prints, digital prints), negatives, albums, other photographs]
-In a general sense, what is the aim of the treatments performed, stabilization or restitution of the aesthetical qualities of the objects? (Or both?)
-What treatments types are performed most commonly?
[Cleaning, consolidation, flattening, structural repair, compensation for loss (including inpainting)]
- Do you consider mounting and rehousing as conservation treatments as well?
- In terms of extent, do you consider that the treatments performed in this institution can be considered minor interventions, moderate or major interventions?
- In your observation of the work that has been done and that is currently performed in this lab, what are the major changes that you perceive in the way treatments are approached and performed?
- Do you consider that a greater understanding and recognition of the values and characteristics of a photograph has lead to less interventive treatment procedures?
- Do you consider that a greater awareness of the potential treatment risks or effects in the characteristics of a photograph has lead to less interventive treatment procedures?
- Do you consider that the perception of how a photograph should look, in terms of its condition, has changed through time? Do you think users perceive or relate certain deterioration as inherent to photographs?
-Do you think this happens outside of a museum environment?
-What is your observation of the work performed in other institutions and in private practice in relation to the work performed here? Do you consider that the use and context of the photographs define their treatment requirements (and extents)?
- Do you consider that market (value/trends) influence treatment decision-making and performance?
Issues in treatment,
-Daguerreotype cleaning. The cleaning of daguerreotypes is one of the first restoration treatments performed on photographs. It was historically performed by photographers, dealers, collectors, curators and later by conservators. There has being a clear transformation in the methodologies and materials used for this treatment. What is your stand on the performance of this treatment?
-Chemical treatment. The use of chemical treatments to restore or enhance the appearance of photographs (that involve photographic chemistry, like bleach and redevelopment) has also been recurrently used through time. A considerable amount of research has been developed in this subject to determine its viability and applicability in the different materials like developed out gelatin silver prints and negatives and print out processes like salt prints.
Do you consider the use of this type of chemical treatments should be performed?
What restricts its performance? Material or philosophical restrains?
Other ideas: Fading, color shift, tarnishing removal, silver mirroring removal
Reprocessing: re-fixing and washing
-Un-mounting/remounting of photographs (including dis-assemblage of albums). The un-mounting and remounting of photographs has been considered a needed treatment in different contexts through time. For instance, it has been considered necessary to promote the stability of photographs, or required to allow their individual display in the case of photographs belonging to albums. In what circumstances do you consider these practices can be justified? What do you consider are the allowable reasons to proceed? Do you think they are still performed as regular procedures in certain institutions or private practice?
-Contemporary photography. How do you foresee that
Digital photographs, tendency for bigger formats, new mounting systems
[in progress]
In the topic of treatment experience and training,
- Do you consider that treatment proficiency is central to the competences of a photograph conservator? Why?
- How do you think we can gain treatment proficiency?
- In terms of treatment, what are the major challenges that the field faces?

I deeply appreciate your time and interest to perform this interview and to receive me here in [name of the place].

Private practice
Could you please tell me your name, job title and affiliation?
When was this conservation lab established and for how long have you been working here?

II.
-My next question relates to need for treatment, but in order to understand the context of the treatments performed in this lab, could you tell me what type of institutions and individuals comprise your clientele? (request treatments)
-Considering that, in practice, not all deteriorated photographs or not all photographs that present problems, can be treated or are treated, in your observation, what determines the need or request for treatment?

Template for interviews, introduction version 4

Template for interview
Today is Day, Date (month, day, year), Time.

My name is Alejandra Mendoza and I am with (name of the interviewee) to have a conversation about Treatment Practices in Photograph Conservation. This interview is/forms part of the series of interviews I am conducting to photograph conservators to investigate and describe the current status [state] of treatment practices in our field, the general characteristics and objectives of the interventions performed, and the variables that influence its performance, as well as briefly address the transformation of treatment standards and decision-making through time.

I would like to follow a format for the interview in which I will begin asking you questions about the approaches, characteristics and extents of the treatments performed in this institution, followed by questions addressing treatment issues that the field has faced through time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Changes from version 2 to version 3

I continued developing new questions and question structures for the beginning of the interview.
With this initial section, I am trying to contextualize what treatments are being performed, where, how often, to what degree.

I realized -after feedback with faculty members- that the idea of inquiring about difficult treatment study cases, may sound too rigid or violent for the interviewees. And therefore I decided to structure the questions by treatment topic.
Instead of asking, "what would you do if a client brings you an object with this problem?", asking "what is your opinion about this treatment? Do you think it can/should be performed? when, why? This approach gives more space for conversation and can be better understood.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Template for interviews, version 3

Institutions
Could you please tell me your name, job title and affiliation?
When was this conservation lab established and for how long have you been working here?

I. My next question relates to need for treatment. Considering that in an institutional reality, not all deteriorated photographs or not all photographs that present problems, can be treated or are treated, how do you select and prioritize the photographs that are going to be treated? What factors determine the need for treatment? [Potential answers: Exhibition/loan established treatment plan/program specific projects]
If you had more resources would you propose the establishment a regular treatment program for the collection?
-In a general sense, what is the aim of the treatments performed, stabilization or restitution of the aesthetical qualities of the object? (Or both?)
[Cleaning, consolidation, flattening, structural repair, compensation for loss/inpainting]
- Do you consider mounting and rehousing as conservation treatments?
- In terms of extent, do you consider that the treatments performed in this institution can be considered minor interventions, moderate or major interventions?
- In your observation of the work that has been done and that is currently performed in this lab, what are the major changes that you perceive in the way treatments are approached and performed?
- Do you consider that a greater understanding and recognition of the values and characteristics of a photograph has lead to less interventive treatment procedures?
- Do you consider that a greater awareness of the potential treatment risks or effects in the characteristics of a photograph has lead to less interventive treatment procedures?
- Do you consider that the perception of how a photograph should look, in terms of its condition, has changed through time? Do you think users perceive or relate certain deterioration as inherent to photographs?
-Do you think this happens outside of a museum environment?
-What is your observation of the work performed in other institutions and in private practice in relation to the work performed here? Do you consider that the use and context of the photographs define their treatment requirements?
- Do you consider that market (value/trends) influence treatment decision-making and performance?

Issues in treatment,
Daguerreotype cleaning. The cleaning of daguerreotypes is one of the first restoration treatments performed on photographs. It was historically performed by photographers, dealers, collectors, curators and later by conservators. There has being a clear transformation in the methodologies and materials used for this treatment. What is your stand on the performance of this treatment?
Chemical treatment. The use of chemical treatments (that involve photographic chemistry) to restore or enhance the appearance of photographs has also been used recurrently through time. A considerable amount of research has been developed in this subject to determine its viability and applicability in the different materials like developed out gelatin silver prints and negatives and print out processes like salt prints. Do you consider the use of chemical treatments is allowed? [better construction of this question!]
Album
Contemporary photography

Private practice
Could you please tell me your name, job title and affiliation?
When was this conservation lab established and for how long have you been working here?

II. My next question relates to need for treatment, but in order to understand the context of the treatments performed in this lab, could you tell me what type of institutions and individuals comprise your clientele? (request treatments)
-Considering that, in practice, not all deteriorated photographs or not all photographs that present problems, can be treated or are treated, in your observation, what determines the need or request for treatment?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bibliography review: treatment criteria

"1. Treatment is the core of our profession. There are other fields; archivists, conservation scientists, collections management, researches, and curators. They each play their important and unique roll in the world of art and history. But it is entrusted to the professional Conservator the privilege to intervene, or not intervene, in the physical well being of the object.
2. In the conservation of artistic and historic works, not every treatment that is wanted is possible, not every treatment that is possible is necessary, and not every treatment that is necessary is advisable.
[...] But when it comes to a decision as to what treatment, if any, should be carried out, the the responsibility is strictly in your hands. It is you who must be true to your sense of ethics. Just because and object is brought to a conservator for treatment it is not itself sufficient reason to do treatment."

José Orraca, “Developing Treatment Criteria in the Conservation of Photographs”, OJO, Spring 1991.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Changes from version 1 to version 2

I realized that the heading "Philosophy and Ethics" was hard to understand, and that the questions could be addressed differently and in a different order.
I introduced the idea of presenting specific case studies to talk about complicated treatment procedures. For example, intensification of prints or album dis-assemblage.
The shape or content of these questions are not definitive, just a trial.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Template for interviews, version 2

Today is Day, Date (month, day, year), Time.

My name is Alejandra Mendoza and I am with (name of the interviewee), to have a conversation about Treatment Practices in Photograph Conservation as part of my project for the ARP in which I intend to describe the current status of treatment practices: its characteristics and objectives, and the variables that influence its performance; as well as briefly address the transformation of treatment standards and decision-making through time.
I would like to follow a pattern for the interview in which I will begin asking questions about the approaches to treatment in this institution, its characteristics and extents, followed by questions about the similarities and differences compared to the treatment practices performed in other types of institutions. After this, I will present to you some [3] hypothetical treatment cases to hear your opinion about them and end up with some questions about education.

To start, could you please tell me your name, your current job position, the institution or company that you work for, and for how long have you been working here?

I deeply appreciate your time and interest to perform this interview and to receive me here in [name of the place]. I would like to begin asking you,
1. [In your institution] What determines the need for treatment, or in other words, how do you do the selection and prioritization of the photographs that are going to be treated?
2. What is the nature of the treatments performed?
3. How is the extent of treatment decided and by whom?
4. Do you consider that the treatments performed here at [x] can be considered minor interventions [or major interventions]? why?
5. In your observation of the work that has been done here at [your institution] in the last decades, what are the major changes, if any, that you perceive?
6. Do you consider that the perception of how a fine art photograph or a historical photograph should look has changed through time?
7. Do you think that treatment approaches and extents in a fine art museum differ from treatment approaches and extents in other types of institutions, like archives and historical societies? why?
8. Do you think they differ from treatment approaches and extents performed in private practice? why?
I would like to present to you 3-5? hypothetical treatment cases to hear your opinion about them,
9. Chemical treatment. If a private owner brings you a faded silver gelatin developed out print of high personal value and asks you to chemically restore it, and he, as the owner, is willing to accept the related risks of the treatment, what would you respond and do?
10. Album. If a private owner brings you a nineteenth century album, like the Bicknell Album by Hill & Adamson, and asks you to unmount and remount the prints because he would like to display them individually, what would you respond and do?
11. Cleaning of a tarnished daguerreotype.
In the topic of education (it is not really education, I need another word),
- Do you consider that treatment proficiency is central to the competences of a photograph conservator? Why?
- How do you think we can gain treatment proficiency?
- In terms of treatment, what are the major challenges that the field faces?

Template for interview, version 2.1
Today is Day, Date (month, day, year), Time.
My name is Alejandra Mendoza and I am with (name of the interviewee) to have a conversation about Treatment Practices in Photograph Conservation. This interview is/forms part of the series of interviews I am conducting to photograph conservators to investigate and describe the current status [state] of treatment practices in our field, the general characteristics and objectives of the interventions performed, and the variables that influence its performance, as well as briefly address the transformation of treatment standards and decision-making through time.
I would like to follow a format for the interview in which I will begin asking you questions about the approaches, characteristics and extents of the treatments performed in this institution, followed by questions about the similarities and differences compared to the treatment practices performed in other institutions. After this, I would like to know your opinion about some hypothetical treatment cases that I will present to you. Ending up with some questions about training and treatment experience.