I-35. The Identification of Photographic Print Processes

Al Carver-Kubik Jennifer Jae Gutierrez

“I think that anyone who would like to know more about how photographs are made—technically, historically—could benefit from this course.” — 2016 student

This course will offer instruction in the identification and characterization of all the major photographic print processes, from the earliest photographs of the 19th century to modern digital prints. Participants will work with historic and contemporary prints from the Image Permanence Institute’s research collection, as well as those of RBS and the UVA library. The processes to be considered fall into four broad categories: 19th-century, 20th-century black and white, 20th-century color, and 21st-century digital. The course will discuss methods to distinguish photomechanical prints from photographs and how deterioration affects the appearance of photographs. The course will use a structured, hands-on, observation-based approach to print identification in which a variety of specific characteristics such as image structure, color, visibility of paper fibers, texture, sheen, and image deterioration are considered in logical order.

Along with process identification, the course will touch on the evolution of photograph technology, aesthetic trends, and will consider the major processes in chronological order. Students will learn to use tools and techniques for examining photographic prints, such as how to use a low power loupe magnifier and a pocket microscope. The course also includes a hands-on printing tutorial and a visit to UVA Special Collections. Classroom examples will be supplemented by lectures on process, printing technologies, history, and use of the website Graphics Atlas. Students should bring a laptop or tablet.

Course History

2020–
Al Carver-Kubik and Jennifer Jae Gutierrez co-teach this course.
2018–2019
Al Carver-Kubik teaches this course.
2008–2016
James Reilly and Ryan Boatright co-teach this course.
This course is cancelled for Summer 2020.

Course Resources

  • Advance Reading List
  • Evaluations for this course:

Related Courses

Faculty

  • Al Carver-Kubik
  • Jennifer Jae Gutierrez

Al Carver-Kubik

Al Carver-Kubik, a Research Scientist at the Image Permanence Institute (IPI) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), teaches and conducts preservation research with expertise in print and photographic processes. Al has served as a photographs reviewer for the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Save Our African American Treasures program since 2009 and is co-author of In the Darkroom: An Illustrated Guide to Photographic Processes Before the Digital Age (2010) and has contributed research about photographic materials to several other publications including the Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Photography (2015), and Platinum and Palladium Photographs: Technical History, Connoisseurship, and Conservation (2017), and The Preservation Management Handbook, 2nd edition (2020). He has a MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University in coordination with the George Eastman Museum. Before joining IPI, he worked in museums and galleries as a conservation technician, researcher, object preparator, and archival consultant.

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Jennifer Jae Gutierrez

Jennifer Jae Gutierrez is Executive Director of the Image Permanence Institute (IPI) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). IPI is a preservation research center that supports the preservation of cultural heritage collections through an active research program, education and training activities, and consulting and testing services. Areas of expertise include the preservation of photographic materials and sustainable practices in preservation environmental management. Prior to her appointment at RIT, Jae was the Arthur J. Bell Senior Photograph Conservator at the Center for Creative Photography (CCP), University of Arizona, Tucson where she established the institution’s conservation department. Before that, she held a faculty appointment in the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware, where she taught undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in preventive conservation, conservation ethics, and the conservation of photographic materials. She also served as Associate Director of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation from 2010 to 2012.

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