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Wednesday, May 31 • 11:00am - 11:30am
(Photographic Materials) Providing Access to ‘Overprotected’ Color Slides

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Arnold Newman (1918–2006) is considered the father of the environmental portrait and one of the most influential photographers of the 20th Century. He published numerous books and his photographs were frequently published in magazines such as LIFE, Time, Scientific American, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, The New Yorker, among many others. His work is part of major museums and private collections within the United States and around the world. In 2006, the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, acquired Newman's archive. Composed by 307,923 items, the archive contains negatives, color transparencies, original contact sheets, a selection of more than 2,000 prints, Newman's original "sittings” or appointment books, business files, correspondence, early sketchbooks, photographic albums, video recordings of interviews and lectures, among others. During the cataloging process several conservation challenges were brought to light. One of them: 16 sets of Kodachrome color transparencies, with a total of 117 individual transparencies, were wrapped with three different pressure sensitive tapes, and apparently randomly labeled. This configuration blocked the access to the images and represented a conservation problem since the tapes were in direct contact with film supports and emulsion layers. Tests were performed to find the safest way to remove tapes and adhesive residues. Paper conservation techniques were, once again, successfully applied in the conservation of photographs, in this case with plastic supports and color dyes as the image–forming material. Conservation treatments allowed access to the image content, thus enabling completion of cataloging process and pairing the slide label information with Newman's cataloging system, and ultimately allowing access of his entire archive to scholars and researchers interested in his creative process.

avatar for Diana L. Diaz Cañas

Diana L. Diaz Cañas

Senior Conservator of Photographs, Harry Ransom Center
Diana Diaz is Conservator of Photographs at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. Diana has post-graduate degree in Conservation of Photographs from the National School for Conservation (ENCRyM) in Mexico City, and a Bachelor degree in Conservation from the Universidad... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 11:00am - 11:30am CDT
Michigan 1A-B Concourse Level, East Tower