Tatiana Cole: Metropolitan Museum of Art
UD graduate student Tatiana Cole uses spectrophotometry to measure any changes in the appearance of black-and-white photograph samples exposed to off-gases of paint.
Cole prepares a Verifax collage by Wallace Berman for X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) analysis of this not well understood, early method of photocopying. XRF is a non-destructive analytical technique that would help to identify any presence of silver as a component of the image-forming material.


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11:54 a.m., July 28, 2010----My interests lie in the preservation of photographs and modern and contemporary art. This summer, I was awarded funding to attend international conferences held in the Netherlands that addressed pressing issues on the conservation of contemporary art, and education of contemporary art conservators. Topics such as how to preserve the immateriality of installation art, and the complexities of conserving time-based media art, were discussed.

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Following the conferences, I began a truly enriching eight-week internship in photograph conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art under the guidance of Nora Kennedy, Sherman Fairchild Conservator of Photographs. I have since been surrounded by pivotal works by some of the most influential photographers of our time and have worked with highly skilled and inspiring conservators on several, varied projects.

I am doing research for the Daguerreotype Research Portal website, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded collaborative effort between the Met, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and George Eastman House that is surveying representative daguerreotypes by the great Southworth and Hawes, daguerreotypists of the 1850s based in Boston.

I am compiling information on daguerreotype housing treatments performed at the Met from the 1940s to the present, and designing schematic diagrams of these housings for inclusion on the website. With UD undergraduate Lauren Scher, I am conducting an experiment testing the effects of off-gassing of common wall paints on black-and-white photographs. There is anecdotal evidence that off-gassing of peroxides from oil-based paints has caused discoloration of silver-based image materials.

Finally, I am investigating an early method of photocopying called Verifax that was developed by Eastman Kodak in the early 1950s. This process was used by Los Angeles Beat Generation artist Wallace Berman, who played a major role in bringing visual art into the scene. The chemistry involved and its long-term stability is not well understood. I wrote a condition report for a work by Berman in the Met's collection, I am compiling information on Verifaxes and am involved in scientific analysis of the process, a subject that I hope to continue exploring during the second year of my graduate studies.