Photo fraud: eBay to the rescue!

In the 1990s the market for photos exploded. As snapshots started selling for millions of dollars, sham photos also slipped into the fray before the art world had any way to authenticate originals. And so cultural heritage researchers had to play some serious catch-up, and quickly. That’s the gist of my recent cover story on photo conservation. It explores how two fraud cases helped turn the field from a niche research area to a...

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A Fun Video About Photo Conservation And The History of Photo-making

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit the Getty Conservation Institute with videographer Kirk Zamieroski. This is a cool video he made about the photo conservation research that takes place in the GCI’s Los Angeles laboratories. It features the GCI’s Art Kaplan talking about a few of the 100+ different photo-making processes (wowsers!) used since the dawn of photography. Enjoy! PS:  ….And if you want to...

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Mercury In Platinum Prints Makes Things Sepia–Or Does It?

Around 1889, Gertrude Käsebier, a 37-year-old, unhappily married mother of three, decided to go to art school. A decade later, around 1900, Käsebier’s photo studio in New York City was so successful that her platinum print portraits were “the thing to have,” in turn-of-the-century socialite circles, says Tram M. Vo, an independent conservator who has been collaborating with Dusan Stulik at the Getty Conservation Institute. “At the...

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Using A Digital Light Projector To Restore Mark Rothko Paintings

One of the coolest talks I saw at the ICOM-CC conference in Lisbon last week came from Jens Stenger, a conservation scientist at the Harvard Art Museums in Boston. He had the tricky task of figuring out what to do about five paintings by Mark Rothko in the museum’s collection that were so damaged from sunlight exposure that crimson paint on the canvas had turned to blue. If just a tiny corner of the paintings were light damaged,...

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