Sunday, January 18, 2009

Testing YouTube embedding



This is a test from YouTube embedding, also a test for the use of titles and covers using i-movie.

YouTube is a possibility for publishing the interviews. It is an accessible diffusion tool, that has already been used by academic purposes.

Some of the inconveniences are that when a video is uploaded to YouTube, it loses context and that "similar" videos are related to it, which can be completely different and unrelated.



[In the original posting, the video was uploaded to you tube but it was removed after 2 months, since it was only a trial. During this time, 35 people viewed the video and none left a comment on it].

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rehearsal interviews with ARP Fellows

Rehearsal interviews with ARP Fellows
Yesterday I interviewed two of my co-fellows at the Advanced Residency Program: Ania Michas and Hyejung Yum (separately).
The purpose of this was both to try the questionnaire (version 6) and potentially evaluate the answers, as well as to improve my interviewing skills.
I gave them the interview questionnaire 1 and 2 days before the interview (posted Jan 6, 2009) and used the version with notes and follow ups (posted Jan 5, 2009) as planned.

I think that both interviews went pretty well. Interestingly the answers from one interviewee to the other were very different, which somehow reinforces the value of collecting different points of view on the topic and the range of perspectives towards conservation treatments.
The length of each interview was 33 and 34 minutes.

The observations I made in terms of the structure and content of the questionnaire are:
- At the beginning, a deeper conversation about the interviewees previous experience was needed in order to contextualize the next questions/answers and also to gain confidence to speak both from interviewee and interviewer,
- The question of need [how do you determine the need for treatment?] sounded abrupt to begin with, although it is a straight forward question that I would like to ask.
I think I can try it further as it is and where it is, before reconsidering its place in the interview. (Perhaps a easier question to begin with would be #3).
- Considering the experience of my interviewees in terms of conservation treatment of photographs, the questions of type, aim, degree, transformation and external interactions went very well. Although the order in which I asked them varied considerably with the flow of the conversation (very much as expected).
The difficulty with this, was then to cover all the questions I wanted to ask (without forgetting some or not asking some because of the way the conversations evolved).
- The content that can be obtained by this part of the interview depends greatly on the interviewee's experience.
- The questions of the specific treatment topics went very well as well as the follow ups to them.
- I think both my interviewees were pleased to participate and happy to help.

Technical details:
I recorded the interviews using my computer. Both the image and audio were good.
I save the files as .mov and then converted one of them to .mp4 to see the difference.
The file size of the first format was around 160MB each while the second format was 89MB. Reduced size reduces quality significantly, but can be still be acceptable.



[In the original post the video was uploaded to blogger and it was retrievable, it was removed since it was only a rehearsal.]

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Changes from version 4 to version 5

In the template 5 I slightly reformulated some of the questions of the first part of the interview (trying to avoid tendencies or bias). Also, I developed the fourth treatment topic question -about modern and contemporary photography.

This version of the interview questionnaire is ready to be tested.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Interview questionnaire (from version 5)

This is the questionnaire that I am sending to the interviewees prior to the interview. It derives directly from template 5, but it more direct and simple.

Current Status of Treatment Practices in Photograph Conservation

Interview questionnaire
a. Could you please tell me your name, job title and affiliation?
b. When was this conservation lab established and for how long have you been working here? (if applicable)
c. Could you describe your clientele? [for private practice]
Need
1. How do you determine the need for treatment?
2. Would you propose the establishment of a regular treatment program for the collection? [for institutions]
Type & Aim
3. What is the scope of treatments that you perform and the types of photographs you treat most frequently?
4. Could you describe, as an example, the intervention of a photograph you treated?
5. What is the aim of the treatments?
Degree/Extent of intervention
6. What do you consider as a minor, moderate and major intervention?
7. Do you consider the creation and application of secondary housings as conservation treatments?
Transformation
8. What changes overtime do you perceive in the way treatments are approached and performed?
9. Do you perceive changes in the level of intervention?
10. Do you consider that the perception of how a photograph should look, in terms of its condition, has changed through time?
External interactions
11. What is your observation of the work performed in other institutions and in private practice in relation to the work performed here?
Do use and context of photographs define their treatment approach?
12. Does market (value/trends) influence treatment decision-making and performance?
Issues in treatment
13. Daguerreotype cleaning
What is your opinion about daguerreotype cleaning?
14. “Chemical” intensification; To restore: Fading/Color shift
What is your opinion about chemical intensification of photographs?
15. Un-mounting/remounting of photographs (including dis-assemblage of albums)
In what circumstances do you consider un-mounting photographs can be justified?
16. Modern and Contemporary photography
What has been your experience with treatment of contemporary photographs?
Final questions:
Treatment experience/training & future
17. Do you consider that treatment proficiency is central to the competences of a photograph conservator?
18. In terms of treatment, what are the major challenges that the field faces?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Template for interviews, version 5

Current Status of Treatment Practices in Photograph Conservation

Interview questionnaire (template 5)
a. Could you please tell me your name, job title and affiliation?
b. When was this conservation lab established and for how long have you been working here?

Need
1. Considering that in practice, 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 or request for treatment?
2. If you had more resources would you propose the establishment of a regular treatment program for the collection? (based on surveyed priorities?)
Type & Aim
3. Can you describe the scope of treatments that you perform and the types of photographs you treat most frequently?
4. Could you describe, as an example, the intervention of a photograph or group of photographs treated in this lab recently, to help me understand your work methodology? (A challenging treatment or a treatment you perform regularly).
5. In a general sense, what is the aim of the treatments performed, stabilization or restitution of the aesthetical qualities of the objects? (Or both, or other?)
6. How does your institution define mounting and rehousing relative to conservation treatments?
Extent
7. In terms of extent, could you define what you consider as a minor, moderate and major intervention? In which category (es) do the treatments performed in this institution fit?
Transformation
8. In your observation of the work that has been done and that is currently performed in this lab, what changes do you perceive in the way treatments are approached and performed?
9. Do you perceive changes in the level of intervention? (If so, can you comment on the factors that have led to these reduced/increased levels of intervention?)
10. 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 (natural, intrinsic) to photographs?
11. (If so) Do you think this is true in the private sector as well as within the museum/archive environment?
External interactions
12. 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 approach (requirements and extents)?
13. Do you consider that market (value/trends) influence treatment decision-making and performance?
Issues in treatment
14. Daguerreotype cleaning
The chemical 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 opinion on the performance of this treatment? Have you cleaned daguerreotypes? If so, could you explain your work methodology? How do you evaluate the potential risk and benefits of this treatment? How do you evaluate your results?
15. “Chemical” treatments. To restore: Fading/Color shift
The use of “chemical” treatments to restore or enhance the appearance of photographs (treatments that involve photographic chemistry, like bleach and redevelopment) has been used recurrently through time. A considerable amount of research has been developed in this subject to determine its viability and applicability in different materials like developed out gelatin silver prints and negatives and print out processes like salt prints.
What is your opinion of these types of chemical treatments; should they be performed, and if so under what circumstances? What are the limitations to this category of treatment? Do you consider material, technical implications and/or ethical and philosophical restraints?
Have you performed this type of treatments? If so, could you explain your work methodology? How do you evaluate the potential risk and benefits of this treatment? How do you evaluate your results?
16. 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?
17. Modern and Contemporary photography
With modern and contemporary photographs, the tendency for bigger formats and the use of new materials -not only photographic but also materials from mounting methods like different rigid supports, plastic laminates and face-mounting systems- have challenged current treatment practices. What has been your experience with treatment of this type of photographs? What is your opinion about reprinting contemporary photographs that present ‘major’ damages? Do you consider we should adopt and/or adapt theory and practices from contemporary art conservation? If so, in what sense?
Final questions:
Treatment experience/training & future
18. 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?
19. 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].