ICOM-CC Photographic Materials Working Group Interim Meeting

Meeting theme: Uniques & Multiples

fotoPhoto, anonymous, 1884 – 1892. This meeting is an important gathering of photograph conservators and historians from all over the world. Past meetings have been held in Wellington, Athens, Rochester, and Paris, among other locations. The 2016 meeting will be comprised of two days of workshops and tours (21-22 September, optional) followed by two days of lectures and a poster display (23-24 September).

Call for Papers

Please submit an abstract for a full lecture, a 5-minute pitch, or a poster by 15 January 2016.

Lecture Day 1 (23 September)

This day will be dedicated to the meeting theme: Uniques & Multiples

The joint contemplation of the unique and the multiple touches upon the very essence of photography, from its beginnings in the 19th century until the present. While seemingly contradictory, the two concepts are actually inextricably linked and can be explored on many levels. Nicéphore Niépce, for example, was concerned with the reproduction of works of art in order to multiply and disseminate images of them, and yet in fact very few photographic artefacts form his legacy. Daguerre’s process produced a unique photographic object, but many thousands of daguerreotypes can be found in collections today. Early pioneers duplicated daguerreotypes by etching and printing from them or by creating galvanic copies; these techniques then became obsolete within years of their invention.

In our digital era of mass photography, unique analogue processes such as ambrotypes and tintypes are flourishing. Most recently, a 20th century photographic unique, the instant print, teetered on the brink of obsolescence as a result of the takeover of digital photography, but it has been revived and is currently thriving. Many questions remain unanswered on the materials and techniques, but also on the conservation and exhibition of unique photographs, such as daguerreotypes, photogenic drawings, colour screen plates, and contemporary prints with applied media. Similarly, ethical and practical questions regarding reprinting and replacement may arise with serial objects, such as numbered editions of colour photographs and inkjet prints. These and other technically and temporally recurrent variations of the unique and the multiple will be studied in breadth and depth on the first day of the conference.

Lecture Day 2 (24 September)

Free conservation topics

All original submissions covering topics relevant to the analysis, treatment, study and care of photographic materials will be considered.

Tours and Workshops (21-22 September, optional)

A programme of tours and workshops relating to the meeting theme will precede the two days of lectures. In the current planning are included, among others:

  • a tour of the Impossible Project factory (formerly Polaroid), where instant film is still being produced,
  • a workshop on Joseph Berres’ 1840 technique for etching daguerreotypes and printing from them,
  • and an Amsterdam city tour “In the footsteps of Jacob Olie” (a 19th C. city photographer).

The full programme with more tours and workshops will be announced on 15 March 2016.

Technical Committee

  • Susie Clark – Conservator of Photographs, and ICOM-CC PMWG Assistant Coordinator
  • Diana Díaz – Conservator of Photographs, Harry Ransom Center, and ICOM-CC PMWG Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook Coordinator
  • Marc Harnly – Senior Conservator and Department Head, J. Paul Getty Museum, and ICOM-CC PMWG Assistant Coordinator
  • Greg Hill – Senior Conservator, Canadian Conservation Institute, and ICOM-CC PMWG Coordinator
  • Martin Jürgens – Conservator of Photographs, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
  • Bertrand Lavedrine – Director, Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections CRCC, Paris
  • Sylvie Pénichon – Conservator, Department of Photography, Art Institute of Chicago, and Chair of PMG-AIC
  • Klaus Pollmeier – Conservator of Photographs, Fine Print Studios, Mühlheim a. d. Ruhr
  • Mark Strange – National Library of New Zealand, and ICOM-CC PMWG Assistant Coordinator
  • Clara von Waldthausen – Coordinator and Lecturer in Photograph Conservation and Preventive Conservation, University of Amsterdam

Key dates to remember

  • 15 January 2016 Submission deadline for abstracts for talks and posters
  • 1 March 2016 Notification of speakers and authors
  • 15 March 2016 Announcement of programme, Registration opens
  • 21-22 Sept. 2016 Workshops and tours
  • 23-24 Sept. 2016 Interim meeting




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