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Photographic Materials Group News and Events PDF Print E-mail


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A Message from ICON Photographic Materials Chair, Anita Bools ACR
12 August 2013

I wanted personally to share my news with the members of Icon Photographic Materials Group. As some of you are aware, I been involved with our group since its inaugural meeting as the Photographic Materials Conservation Group following the conference, “The Imperfect Image”, in 1992. It has given me great pleasure to chair the group in recent years, particularly with our current committee who have done much to bring about our successful and well-attended meetings.

From this September I will be on a sabbatical from my role as the National Trust Photographic Materials Adviser to take up a place at Reading University in order to develop my teaching experience formally. As I resign the chairmanship of the Photographic Materials Group I am very pleased that our Deputy Chair, Sarah Allen, has agreed to take over as Acting Chair, until a new Chair is elected.


And thanks from the group...

Anita has invested a huge amount of time and effort into the work of the Group and she will be much missed. We would like to take this opportunity to thank her for all for all of her hard work over the years and we wish her all the best for the future plans.



Please forward news of any events relating to the conservation of photographic materials to Louisa Coles and we will add details to the listings below.

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Future Events: Icon Photographic Materials Group

Details of future Icon Photographic Materials Group events will appear here shortly.


Past Events: Icon Photographic Materials Group 

Let’s Talk About Photography Event Series
Liverpool 1 day Event and AGM

Date: 8th May 2014
Time: 10.30 onwards
Location: Liverpool, Various
Cost: £15 Icon members; £30 non-members; £7.50 Concessions

Click here for event details

Let’s Talk About Photography Event Series
A Visit to “Surviving Tsunami” Exhibition, Cellulose Nitrate Project and Photo Store Tour at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

Date: 17th December, 2013
Time: 11:00 - 15:00
Location: Pitt Rivers Museum
Organised by: Icon Photographic Materials Group

The Pitt Rivers Museum cares for the anthropology and world archaeology collections of the University of Oxford. It is known for its unique collections originating from all parts of the world, as well as its method of display – with objects arranged according to type – within a renovated, environmentally-controlled building.

The “Surviving Tsunami” exhibition highlighted a volunteer-led project in Japan to salvage and conserve historic photograph collections after two museums and a library in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, were destroyed in the 2011 tsunami.

The Museum’s Photograph Collections Store Rooms are normally hidden from public view, but provide an excellent example for museums holding small but important collections of historical photographic material.

This event provided a rare opportunity to look around the exhibition with the curator of the exhibition (Philip Grover), as well as to see “behind the scenes” of the Museum (with Christopher Morton, Curator of the Photograph Collections).

This was a free event for all Icon members. 

PF13: Positive Futures in an Uncertain World

Many thanks to our speakers during the photographic materials session at the PF13 conference in Glasgow: Andrew Megaw, Jenny Harvey, Sarah Allen and Rachel Nordstrom really did us proud. Additionally, Ian Moor contributed a very well received slot on behalf of Photographic Materials to the joint session on adhesives and Saya Miles contributed an excellent poster on her recent project. Well done and a BIG thankyou to all our contributors!


We are very pleased to be able to share Saya Miles’ poster presentation from the photographic materials session at the recent Icon conference PF13 with our members.


The Red Box Project: conserving and digitising an open access photographic collection 

Visit to the British Film Institute's off-site cold store

Date: 18th October, 2012
Time: 11:00 - 15:00
Location: The BFI Cold Store, Warwickshire
Organised by: Icon Photographic Materials Group

The BFI is the lead organisation for film in the UK - Since 1933 they have cared for the BFI National Archive, and celebrated the best of British and international filmmaking through festivals, film restoration, DVD releases and cinema programming.

The Icon Photographic Materials Group visited the BFI Cold Store in Warwickshire on Thursday, 18th October. The day included a guided tour of inside and outside of the cold store, followed by a visit to a country pub for lunch, drink and informal discussion about conservation of photographic materials and environmental control.

Visit to The Photographers' Gallery & a talk by Yoko Shiraiwa

"Rescuing Tsunami damaged photographs in Japan - Saving images and memories of family photographs"

Date: 19th July 2012
Time: 17.30 - 20.00
Location: The Photographers' Gallery, London
Speaker: Yoko Shiraiwa (Conservator)
Organised by: Icon Photographic Materials Group

This event included a tour of the newly-opened Gallery with a curator, and a lecture from visiting conservator Yoko Shiraiwa who has been working on photographic materials damaged in the Japanese tsunami:

"Rescuing Tsunami damaged photographs in Japan - Saving images and memories of family photographs"

We believe this was the first time a conservator had spoken about the tsunami in the UK so we are very grateful to Yoko for coming to talk to us.

The event was offered at a reasonable cost thanks to the generosity of The Photographers' Gallery and Harwell Document Restoration Services.

Travel Directions:

Yoko's talk was also delivered at an event in Edinburgh. For details, see entry below.

"Rescuing Tsunami damaged photographs in Japan - Saving images and memories of family photographs"

A talk by Yoko Shiraiwa

Date: 12th July 2012
Time: 15.00 - 16,30
Location: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
Speaker: Yoko Shiraiwa (Conservator)
Organised by: Icon Scotland & Icon Photographic Materials Group

The Scottish event will took place at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh on Thursday the 12th July. We were able to offer the event thanks to the generous sponsorship of Icon Scotland and the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

Travel directions:

ICON Photographic Materials Group Day Conference 2011

22 September 2011- Day Conference.
A one day conference was held in September 2011 at the Manger Barn, near the Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire.

About 40 delegates listened to the presentations, and during breaks and lunch viewed the exhibition of photographs by George Bernard Shaw in the Fox Talbot Museum and examples of platinum prints from the Burnett Collection. Posters by Dorothy Kenn of the British Library on the conservation of Daguerreotypes by Antoine Claudet from the Talbot Collection, and by Saya Miles on her time as an Icon intern and beyond were also displayed.

The Day finished with the Annual General Meeting of the Group during which Anita Bools Group Chair updated the meeting on the activities of the group, events happening at Icon generally and her work with the chairpersons of other Icon groups. Dominic Wall as Group Treasurer updated the Icon members present on the new funding arrangement for Icon Groups, all other funding having been taken from them and centralised. Most significantly 4 new Committee members of the Group were elected (see Officers & Committee page).


  • Man and Cameraman: The Conservation, Cataloguing and Digitisation of the Photographs of George Bernard Shaw
    Anita Bools ACR, National Trust and Ed Fay London School of Economics
  • Investigating Glass Deterioration and Delaminating Emulsion on Glass Plate Negatives: Causes, Consequences and Treatment of the Bedford Lemere Collection
    Sarah Allen, English Heritage
  • The Conservation of Harold Pinter and Lawrence Durrell’s Photographs
    Julia Wiland, British Library
  • Positive Negative
    The photographic negative and its relationship to the contact print: practice, conservation issues and photographic aesthetics.
    Simon Fleury, Victoria and Albert Museum
  • The History, Chemistry, Usage and Conservation of the Platinum Print Process
    Ian Moor, Centre for Photographic Conservation, London
  • Towner Contemporary Art Museum and its Photographic Collections
    Corinne Hillman Farmer ACR

The Photographic Materials Conservation Group are grateful to the National Trust and the Fox Talbot Museum for generously hosting the day.


The photographic collection of George Bernard Shaw is owned by the National Trust but is housed and maintained by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and is now accessible at the LSE. More details at the links above 

Lacock Abbey is the former home of W.H.F.Talbot, inventor of the positive-negative process and innovator of many other photographic techniques. While the main Talbot collection is now housed at the British Library the Fox Talbot Museum still has a collection of material relating to his life and work, and holds temporary exhibitions on historic photography and processes.

Future Events: other organisations

Please forward any news of any events relating to the conservation of photographic materials to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Details will be added to the listings below. We also use our facebook page and twitter to post details of exhibitions and events organised by other organisations.

Past Events: other organisations

Research Seminar: history of photography 'Approaches to the Urban Landscape'

Date: Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Time: 17.30
Location: Courtauld Institute of Art, Research Forum South Room
Speaker(s): George Georgiou (Photographer)
Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission
Organised by: Julian Stallabrass and Pei-Kuei Tsai

Photographer George Georgiou was born in London to Greek-Cypriot parents and graduated in photography from the Polytechnic of Central London. At this seminar, Georgiou will speak about his two series of street photographs, titled Fault Lines/Turkey/East/West and Invisible: London, the former taken across Turkey, the latter in London.

‘I will be talking about two different photographic approaches addressing the urban landscape and community and how we negotiate public space. In Turkey my interest was in the accelerated modernisation of the country, using landscape and colour to drive the narrative and questioning notions of East and West. With London, Invisible, I use the bus as my window on the street, exploring the increasing diversity of a major Western metropolis as the movement of people continues to change both the urban landscape and the community within it. A community of invisibility and but also voyeurism. Not only is the passer-by invisible, but I, as the photographer becomes a voyeur, become invisible to the outside, like the CCTV cameras in London that follow our every moves’. George Georgiou

The History of Photography research seminar series aims to be a discursive platform for the discussion and dissemination of current research on photography. From art as photography and early photographic technology to ethnographic photographs and contemporary photography as art, the seminar welcomes contributions from researchers across the board, whether independent or affiliated with museums, galleries, archives, libraries or higher education, and endeavours to provide scholars with a challenging opportunity to present work in progress and test out new ideas.

The seminars usually take place once a term, on Wednesday evenings at 5.30pm in the Research Forum, unless otherwise stated. The papers are followed by an informal discussion and a reception.

Organised by Julian Stallabrass ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and Pei-Kuei Tsai
( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Preserving Historic Photographs A Preservation Advisory Centre Training Day led by Susie Clark
To be held on Thursday 12th July, 2012 at the British Library Centre for Conservation

Preservation of Photographic Collections: a two day workshop

Presented by Professor Debra Hess Norris

Hosted by: Trinity College Library, Preservation & Conservation Department
Presented by:  Professor Debra Hess Norris, University of Delaware
Supported by: Irish Professional Conservators’ and Restorers Association (IPCRA)

Dates: 16 – 17 July 2012
Location:  North Training Room, Trinity College Library, Trinity College Dublin
Cost: €200
To register contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This workshop is open to Conservators and Managers of Photographic Collections.Places are limited to 30 participants, on a first come basis, so please book early. Registration will be confirmed on receipt of payment.

This two-day workshop will familiarize participants with the identification, degradation, and preservation of common photographic print materials, including the salted paper, albumen, silver gelatin, and chromogenic color processes.  Ethical and other pressing factors to consider in the conservation treatment of at-risk print materials will be outlined.  Gelatin dry plate negatives and film-base materials will also be discussed, as will considerations associated with the care of photographic albums.  Preservation challenges related to large and diverse photographic collections will be reviewed with attention paid to the importance of proper environments and storage materials, emergency planning, and risk analysis.  The value and significance of photography, global initiatives as exemplars for new educational paradigms in the Middle East, Russia, and beyond, and the pressing need to secure external funding and support through effective preservation advocacy will be emphasized throughout the workshop.  

Foto Conservación 2011

A conference focussing on thirty years of science in photographic conservation was held in Logroño, Rioja, Northern Spain between the 20th and 23rd June 2011.The conference aimed to review research and practice of photograph conservation & preservation over the last 30 years, highlight successes and guide future directions. Further information can be found at


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