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Preservation of Photographic Materials Session 1: Understanding Photographs as Materials

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - 13:00 to 14:45


Online training session
Tuesday 6 December 2022 1-2.45pm COURSE LEADER: ANITA BOOLS ACR

Who is this session for?

This session aims to provide an understanding of traditional photographs i.e. those produced by chemical, rather than digital means. It is about the nature of photographs - what makes them special but can also bring challenges in caring for them.
The session is aimed at participants who work with collections of photographs. Some participants may have little knowledge of photographs prior to this session but have photographs within their collections. Others may have much deeper experience with photography collections but wish to improve their knowledge and understanding of photographic materials to facilitate long-term preservation.

Learning Objective

To gain an understanding of photographs and the materials from which they are made, in order to apply conservation principles and techniques to help preserve collections.
Learning Outcomes

- Begin to understand the multi-faceted nature of photographs
- Recognise how the development of early photography led to the use of different materials, formats, presentation and purpose.
- Understand that these differences often affect their condition, and the steps necessary for their preservation.
Teaching and Learning Methods

A range of techniques will be utilised to promote learning and cater for different learning styles. This will include viewing and learning about examples on screen, discussion, demonstrations and following practical activities. Active participation is encouraged in order to maximise learning from this session.

About the Tutor

Anita Bools ACR is the National Trust’s Senior National Conservator for Paper and Photography, a highly experienced photographic materials professional, lecturer and teacher. She was a founding committee member and chair (2009 – 2013) of ICON Photographic Materials Conservation Group and formerly Senior Paper and Photographic Materials Conservator with the North-West Museums Service.
Anita has worked for the National Trust since 1995. She sets standards and guides the National Trust in caring for its extensive photographic collections as well as advising, training and supporting staff in caring for collections. As a photographic materials conservation consultant, Anita has worked across diverse organisations – from British Telecom to the Royal Opera House. In 2018 she was awarded a travel bursary from the Bei Shan Tang Foundation to attend and present a poster at the IIC – Palace Museum Beijing Symposium.  Anita took study leave in 2013 to obtain qualified teacher status from Reading University, subsequently teaching all national curriculum subjects part-time in primary schools. Earlier in 2022 Anita ran several sessions on caring for photographic materials for National Trust conservators and externally, for GLAM: Oxford University galleries, libraries and museums.

Course Requirements

It will be useful for participants to have the following at hand during the session:

- A photograph of their own (non-collection item). (This is for a handling exercise and can be of any type or size, or even a photograph cut from a magazine attached to card).
Pencil and notebook for note-taking and/or a phone-camera  - to note any instructions on screen prior to activities.


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