Thursday, May 5, 2011

Launching new edition of MEPPI

The Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware in collaboration with the Arab Image Foundation (AIF), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Getty Conservation Institute are pleased to announce a three-year project to promote the preservation and awareness of photograph collections in the broad Middle East, from North Africa and the Arab Peninsula through Western Asia. The initiative is supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and funding from the Getty Conservation Institute.
The conservation and preservation of photography of the Middle East is still in its infancy despite the existence of many invaluable photograph collections. Collection assessments and surveys, carefully developed educational workshops from basic to advanced, and translations of key preservation texts are urgently needed to preserve the often under-valued photographic treasures from this region of the world.
The scarcity of formally trained photograph conservators in this region makes the need for informed preservation professionals essential to care for the wealth of photographic heritage dating from the early nineteenth century to the present.
This ground-breaking initiative will (1) identify significant photography collections in the region and (2) develop, organize, and administer three eight-day Photograph Preservation Institutes tentatively planned for Beirut, Doha, and Cairo hosted by regional universities and cultural institutions. Each Institute will be combined with carefully monitored distance learning and final follow-up meetings to share insights, compare results, and plan for the future. It is anticipated that custodians of major photographic collections throughout the region will participate.
These combined initiatives will introduce and advance the practice of photograph preservation throughout the Middle East and promote photography in its diverse countries. As the initiative progresses, additional partners from the region may join the effort and expand its reach. Zeina Arida, AIF Director observes, “The Arab Image Foundation is pleased to be an integral part of this photograph preservation initiative. Among its many missions, the Foundation seeks to develop a community of all associated with photography and its exhibition, collection, and care. We look forward to partnering with colleagues and building momentum in the preservation of the many important repositories for photography that document and celebrate the history and culture of the Middle East.”
For more information contact

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Digital Print: Identification and Preservation, by Martin Jürgens

We are happy to announce that the book
The Digital Print: Identification and Preservation
by Martin Jürgens
is now available!

For the American version, please see:

And for the European version, please look at:

The versions have different covers and slightly different titles, but the contents are identical.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Ambassador’s fund for cultural preservation helps preserving the AIF's family photograph collections

Thanks to the “Ambassador’s fund for cultural preservation”, in May 2009 the AIF started rehousing its family collections in boxes and paper enclosures bought from Klug Conservation, Germany.

Description of the project:
To preserve the Arab Image Foundation's extensive family photograph collections, some of which date back to the late 19th century. Temporarily housed in envelopes layered in boxes, these collections require proper treatment and storage for their long-term preservation. The project involves the improvement of collection storage conditions, digitization for preservation, and access, and the completion of the collection database.

AIF - Sana folding boxes

Related web links:
Klug Conservation:
Ambassador’s fund for cultural preservation:

Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel in Arabic

Thanks to the Getty Foundation (and of course to Debbie), we were able to secure the funds for the translation of the “Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel” into Arabic and for its production and printing in a wheel format.
Rana Andari from the National Museum in Beirut is working on the translation and Tamara from the Arab Image Foundation will be coordinating with the graphic design agency for the layout and the production of the Wheel. We hope to have it done by Fall 2009.
It will be distributed free of charge to all heritage preservation institutes in the Middle East.
Related web link:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Article on MEPPI for publication in Topics in Photograph Preservation

Dear Friends,
Debbie and I are working on an article to be published in Topics in Preservation, the publication of the Photographic Materials Group of the AIC. This article will be based on, but will be more extensive than the talk Nora and Debbie presented in January at the PMG Meeting. We thank you all once again for all the images from your collection you provided for the talk. If we choose to include some in the article, we will of course be in touch to obtain copyright permission as needed.

We would also ask that you review portions of the report that describe your individual involvements with your collections to ensure that these are accurate. We will be in touch on an individual basis over the next month and a half.

We send best regards to all and hope the summer months are treating you well!
Nora and Debbie

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A photographic conversation from Burj al-Shamali camp in Jordan

The ongoing project “A Photographic Conversation from Burj al-Shamali Camp” is an open-ended exchange on the visual memory of the Burj al-Shamali Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Herein is a two-part project that involves both producing photographic work with a group of youth from the camp, and research that aims to gather and preserve family and studio photographs from the camp community itself.

The exhibition “How beautiful is Panama!” produced in 2008, is one of the activities that was born from this exchange. By the summer of 2009, the exhibition will have toured several other camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria thanks to the support of the Open Society Institute. A panel discussion on the archiving project will be held alongside the exhibition.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Egyptian Photographers at the Metropolitan Museum

On February 25th, 2009, Mr. Ahmed Amin Atta and Mr. Kirillos Barsoum, two Egyptian photographers, visited Photograph Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ahmed and Kirillos were in New York City for six weeks and visited many departments within the Museum as part of an exchange of expertise related to the exhibition "Beyond Babylon". 
Ahmed and Kirillos work in Cairo at the Egyptian Museum and the Coptic Museum respectively and are photographers for all institutional needs as well as for archaeological excavations. They report that all work is now done digitally. In addition, however, their institutions have large holdings of old negatives including images on glass and on film base. During their visit we discussed the many materials used in the creation of photographs historically; the factors that contribute to the deterioration of photographs; approaches toward preserving photographs including strategies used by the Met and possible strategies for their institutions. We also worked on developing some Arabic vocabulary for many of the terms used. I learned a great deal! Because all of their time currently of necessity is directed toward the creation of new imagery rather than the preservation of past images, the preservation of these collections simply cannot be a priority. I do hope that it will become one over time with help from colleagues in Egypt and internationally.
It was a great great pleasure to meet Ahmed and Kirillos. I was especially pleased to be able to hand them print-outs of the Clark-Frey publication in Arabic! We have promised to remain in contact into the future as plans develop for a workshop in Egypt on the preservation of photographs. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2 publications by Bertrand Lavédrine

We are happy to announce the release of the following publications:

L'autochrome Lumière
by Bertrand Lavédrine and Jean-Paul Gandolfo
Result of 15 years of work, the book will be presented next week at the Salon du Livre in Paris.

The second one will be available this summer.

Photographs of the Past: process and preservation
by Bertrand Lavédrine - Los Angeles, The Getty Conservation Institute.〈=en