Earlier this year, I completed a seven-week Certificate in the Conservation of Photographic Material from the Centre for Photographic Conservation, London, UK.
Run by photograph conservators, Ian Moor and Angela Moor, they have pioneered the field for more than 40 years. Their vast experience includes working with photograph collections at the British Library, National Gallery, Albert and Victoria Museum, and United Nations.
The Moors have also researched and taught themselves how to reproduce historic photographic prints, to understand their composition, production, and degradation. They share this expertise during the first week of the course, teaching students how to create photogenic drawings, salted paper prints, albumen prints, cyanotypes, and calotypes. The experience left me with a great appreciation for the labour and expertise that went into producing 19th century photographs as well as a deeper understanding of their causes of degradation.
The Moors evident passion for early processes and the development of photography has also resulted in them collecting more than 10,000 photographs, which they now draw upon heavily in their teaching. It was an incredible collection to work with and allows students to have a week to practice learning how to identify a vast array of different processes and variants over the second week.
The last five weeks are dedicated to the treatment and rehousing of gelatine dry plates, wet collodion positives on glass, tin types, acetate film, albumen prints, collodion chloride prints, collotype prints, salted paper prints, and silver gelatine prints. The course heavily exceeded my expectations and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone working with photographs.