Recent Research on Daguerreotypes at George Eastman House
Ralph Wiegandt, Assistant Director of Conservation Education
Patrick Ravines, Senior Research Fellow
George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film
October 23, 2008
About the Video:
View video (100 minutes)
About the Lecture:
The 2005 George Eastman House exhibition, "Young America, the Daguerreotypes of Southworth and Hawes", launched a research collaboration among Eastman House conservators, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, focused on these fragile early photographs. The research has encouraged the Mellon Foundation to support efforts to standardize and share common examination methods, develop image-based condition databases, and establish a standardized condition descriptive lexicon for Daguerreotypes. Additional funding could advance efforts to understand the deterioration mechanisms of the complex Daguerreotype structure, and to associate that with macro and micro imaging work. Such efforts could lead to new treatments for Daguerreotypes, in addition to the development of an anoxic housing system for significant, at-risk images.
About the Speakers:
Ralph Wiegandt is the Assistant Director of Conservation Education. He brings a background in objects conservation and applied optics to the field of photograph conservation. Prior to his current position with the ARP, Mr. Wiegandt was the Andrew W. Mellon Senior Research Fellow at George Eastman House. He was also Conservator at the Rochester Museum & Science Center in Rochester, New York, Conservator at the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, and a conservator in private practice. Before pursuing a career in conservation, Mr. Wiegandt worked in the optical thin film industry, and in the production and replication of ruled diffraction gratings.
Mr. Wiegandt seeks to integrate his experience in applied optics and objects conservation with the diverse materials that comprise photographic objects. He has a particular conservation research interest in the conservation and preservation of daguerreotypes, and the role of glass in photography.
Patrick Ravines is currently a Senior Research Fellow at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, Conservation Department, undertaking research in physical and chemical characterization of historic and artistic photographs using non-perturbing optical metrology, optical and electron microscopy techniques. From 2005 to 2007 he was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow. Prior to joining the Eastman House, he was chief of the Conservation Office, Baha’i World Centre, Haifa, Israel.
Mr. Ravines received his BSc degree in chemistry from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1978. He received an MSc in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) in 1981, and was a Research Specialist at UWM in surface science from 1981-82. He received an Advanced Certificate in Conservation and a MLS from Columbia University in 1985 in the conservation of paper-based collections found in museums, libraries and archives. Since then he has been combining both scientific and conservation approaches to the study and conservation of works of art on paper, rare books, manuscripts and photographs.