Although my PhD is about colour photographs, I must admit that most of my knowledge of photography is limited to what I have learnt throughout the past two years. I am however always on the look-out for events out there related to my studies but maybe also taking that further.
From Silver Image to Silver Anniversary - 25 Years of Research at the Image Permanence Institute
This was the first in a series of future directions symposia organised by the Library of Congress. This first symposium, besides celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Image Permanence Institute (IPI), also aimed to deal with the issue of the effect of the physical environment on a wide range of media.
I of course could not physically attend the symposium. however, the Library of Congress tends to webcast their lectures and symposia, allowing people from afar to still follow, and participate in such events. I have already followed a previous lecture on photographic paper, so was looking forward to this one.
The symposium started with a welcome address by Diane van der Reyden. This was followed by a presentation by James Reilly, the director and founder of IPI. He discussed how the IPI started, what it has done in the past 25 years, and finished by where they are going.
I was more interested however in the presentation by Jean-Louis Bigourdan. I was interested in it, of course, as he was speaking about material issues and how these affect preservation strategies. I’m pleased to have followed it as it helped confirmed some of the general feelings I have about the field e.g.
Attitude of the industry to stability of their materials: Need to be good enough for the product to sell. Beyond that? Not really!
Unfortunately I couldn’t hear all the presentations. However, I have received a copy of the recording which I hope to listen in the next few days.
The 19th century photographic collections of the Royal Society
During the presentation we were first given a brief introduction to the early days of photography, and the earlier techniques, and what related items they have. In fact, they still have the 32-page letter that Henry Fox Talbot sent to the RS about his new invention: photography.
This was then followed by a run through the collection held, from photos of experiments, to photos of microscopic things, and with an emphasis on the portrait photos held in the collection. It seemed fascinating to me that to this day on the day of their fellowship. a photo is taken of all the new fellows to capture them as they are on this special day!
The presentation then finished with an outlining of the future plans for the photographic collections of the RS. The ambitious plans include an in-depth research into the items followed by a re-cataloguing of the collections to create fuller records. The aim is to create a dedicated picture database for the collection which will allow for increased access to the database, including online.
Following the presentation there was then time for questions. I liked the way the audience interacted with the presenter and each other. The presenter was honest enough to admit where too technical questions were beyond her capabilities, but there was always someone else in the audience who could answer the questions. It made for a highly stimulating discussion.
This was my first public lecture at the RS? Would I go again? Definitely if it was something I was interested in!