As an artist, focusing on researching ideas, creating a concept and realizing your art work, it is easy to dismiss a key element of the art production process, the conservation of your work, and all that it entails.
Anne-Cartier Bresson, Cultural Heritage Curator and Director of the Atelier de Restauration et de Conservation des Photographies de la Ville de Paris, came to address the issue of photographic conservation with the PCA community on January 19, for the first PCA Talk of the new year.
After defining the photographic object to a crowd avid to understand the ins and outs of the topic, Cartier-Bresson enlightened us with the type of challenges encountered in the process of storing and conserving photographs, which often times involves heavy historian work, researching the purpose of a print and therefore the material used at the time that in turn influence the conservation methods.
Part of the conservation discussion includes the acquisition, exhibition and digitalization of the photographic project, as well as a deep understanding of the materials, to prevent the need for restoration.
Another issue the attendees were introduced to concerns digital photography: will conservation be relevant to digital photography?
Anne Cartier-Bresson says that it does and will: the printing of a photo can not always be reproduced in the same conditions as those of the initial print, the kind of paper and chemicals used might not be available anymore, so the photographic object really is a unique art work that needs to be conserved, whether analog of digital.