U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: curators v. doctors

Re: curators v. doctors


Yep-- I can absolutely believe that (about the curators and historians knowing "diddle" about alt processes). Your doctor analogy reminds me of that old saying about those who graduate dead last in med school-- what do we call them? I guess one could say the same about curators who graduate dead last from "curator school." :)

On Dec 22, 2007, at 12:02 AM, Judy Seigel wrote:

Chris & co,

If you'd been reading the history of photography list as many years as I have, you'd know that curators and historians generally know DIDDLE about our processes.

They may be, often are, extremely erudite, fact packed, world-class expert in their fields, even several fields, but take their word for ANYTHING about "alternative processes" including what & which they are, and you're in for a shock. (Even dealers, or in the current eupehmism "gallerists," know more, tho a friend once heard a famous one explaining to a customer that you could only make one platinum print from a negative). And I stand by the analogy with doctors -- who have actually been to med school and done residencies & fellowships. They know so little for sure that when they actually make a diagnosis, the NY Times magazine prints an article about it.

I happen also (for example) to have a little book from the Getty (somewhere in this mess) that even as a beginner I found 2 or maybe it was 3 mistakes in a once-over lightly... and they weren't really delving into anything, just being descriptive. (Wanna bet the word "archival" wasn't on those pages? -- tho admittedly it's some years since I read it, so I wouldn't bet more than a half million or so.)


On Fri, 21 Dec 2007, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:

No...it was a discussion about something else, and he brought up the point about "gum not being the most archival process" and I was shocked because I had always told my students it was the most archival process there was, and was worried I would have to recant. Thus this point is very important to me. I have always also said pt/pd was up there, but thought gum/carbon were still higher. However, in my convo with him, I was "all about gum" and didn't even think to ask about pt/pd.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Diana Bloomfield" <dhbloomfield@bellsouth.net>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Friday, December 21, 2007 8:16 AM
Subject: Re: archivalness of gum

Thanks, Chris. Yes, Marek mentioned that about the gum layer over the pt/pd possibly working as sort of a preservation tool-- which is good to know. Again, I'm really curious -- since the curator disagreed with you about carbon and gum being the "most archival," did she say what she thought was-- in her estimation?
On Dec 20, 2007, at 11:38 PM, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:
I am not sure how much time it took to transfer, but it seemed like it was
decades. Also, it was a faint ghost of an image, and I would wager a bet
that even with the transfer of some of the metal to paper in contact, a
platinum print is still way up there in archivalness, in the same category
as carbon and gum.
If one thinks about it, look at BW paper--I've seen Becher Typology Water
Towers hanging on the walls of the Walker in Mpls that already were showing
brown spots and silvering out and such. And then think of albumen prints
that turn yellow with time. One reason gum printing was so exciting in the
beginning was that it was an answer to the fading of silver nitrate based
prints at that time--people wanted something that had more permanence than
what they were finding in a few short years was fading. Luckily I xeroxed
those discussions from the early 1860's when gum and carbon came on the
horizon. There is no silver to fade or fox or spot, just pigment and gum
and paper and very little dichromate left. Well, and now some sodium
hypochlorite in Marek's prints :)
So by comparison, so I thought, gum, carbon and platinum were the best. OH,
and guess what--if the gum layer is on top of the pt/pd print, it would
prevent the ghosting from occurring by acting as a barrier to the paper in
contact with the print, so in fact it should HELP with any shortcomings
pt/pd may have!
Christina Z. Anderson
Assistant Professor
Photo Option Coordinator
Montana State University
Box 173350
Bozeman, MT 59717