Photograph conservator Gawain Weaver recently visited ISU to teach a four-day workshop on identifying photographic processes and photograph preservation (May 16-19, 2010). Archivists, preservation professionals, and private collectors from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Illinois attended the workshop, which took place at the ISU Library. This rigorous course took participants from the early days of albumen and salt print photography through the evolution of color photography to modern digital prints.
Gawain Weaver proved to be a committed, dynamic, and knowledgeable instructor, actively engaging his students as they navigated the often confusing intricacies of photograph identification. The workshop balanced practical lectures on the mechanical and chemical processes that create photographs with hands-on, interactive exercises designed to familiarize participants with the characteristic look and feel of the various photograph types.
Each participant received a binder of reference material and charts, as well as a 60x hand-held microscope. Workshop attendees also had the option of purchasing an additional Basic Sample Set containing actual exemplars of the various, major processes which represent the development of photography. After-hours on one day of the workshop, with mini microscopes in hand, participants collectively scoured a local antique shop for vintage photographs, eager to apply their newly acquired knowledge. ISU Library was pleased to be able to host this educational experience for the midwestern preservation & archives community.