I have always been interested in heritage studies, and have also always been drawn to the sciences, so entering the field of heritage science was of course a good way to go! I am currently doing a PhD at the Centre for Sustainable Heritage, University College London (in conjunction with The National Archives’) on ‘The Lifetime of Colour Photographs in Mixed Archival Collections’. Here is a short introduction to my work:
A significant problem in the preservation of colour photographs is their inherent instability, which leads to fading of dyes even in the dark. Thus, colour print stability is mainly dependent on the environment conditions during storage. Nevertheless, often photographs are stored in mixed collections, particularly in archives, with the storage conditions often being geared towards the other, more abundant, material. But what are the environmental conditions which are most significant to the degradation of photographic prints, and in what way do these conditions interact together and with the material to cause changes in the photographic material?
This project aims to evaluate the impact of different environmental conditions on colour photographic media stored in mixed collections. By combining material characterisation, environmental conditions and value measurements, the data collected will help in the construction of a computer model which will allow for lifetime prediction, thus assisting in the management of photographic media in these mixed collections.