Archive for the 'Student Work' Category

Nitrate film inspection happenings with the Selznick School of Film Preservation

Posted by on Oct 10 2012 | Student Work

The new school year is in full swing, and this year we have nine new students in the Motion Picture Department, learning the finer details in archiving and preservation. One of the greatest prides of The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation is the ‘hands-on’ experience given to each student during their time at George Eastman House.  Even if the student has never handled film before, or comes to us with years of experience, it is important to always start with the basics.  Recently three of our new students, Almudena Escobar Lopez, Amber Bertin and Shannon Fitzpatrick were able to sit down on a work bench and begin their student careers with nitrate motion picture film. Each of the students were given various elements from the collection to inspect, catalog, label, and of course, each found unique conservation issues to address during the inspection process.

Almudena Escobar Lopez is attending the Master’s Program in conjunction with the University of Rochester.  Originally from Ourense (Galicia) Spain, Almudena started her first week of archival studies cleaning film with a slight mold problem.  Using the approved cleaner and taking proper care the area she was working, Almundena cleaned the edges of her film and the inside of the film cans to reduce the mold spores stored with the film.

While it may look like a lot of films needing inspection, Amber Bertin was able to meet the tasks assigned with inspection of a duplicate negative and part of a fine grain master.  Her detailed work help clear up one record incorrectly marked from the wrong country!  A native of Houston, Texas, Amber is also enrolled in the Master’s Program here at George Eastman House.

Shannon Fitzpatrick, our Master’s student from San Antonio, Texas found quite a problem in two of her reels-mechanical damage.  This film has been torn previously by a machine or from poor handling, and in this case, it was never correctly repaired.  Shannon began by peeling off the old tape, cleaning the damaged area, and applying new tape correctly to prevent further damage.  Although the frames will never be perfect, they are greatly improved.

The Nitrate Vaults currently houses more than 23,000 reels of nitrate film, making it necessary to have clear and concise records for each and every element.  Learning and understanding the location and retrieval system is important to prevent misplaced reels or lost paperwork.  At the end of the first week, these three students were able to pull and retrieve materials, continuing the conservation process for the rest of the Selznick School class as they too will be spending time over the next few weeks here in the Nitrate Vaults.





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Poster Friday

Posted by on Sep 21 2012 | Student Work

Found our Selznick students databasing and archiving old German posters today! Really quite beautiful.



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The Casual Cats Of Our Collection

Posted by on Aug 16 2012 | Exhibitions, Photography, Student Work

The following is a note from PPCM graduate student, Ross Knapper.

I’d like to share my experience from the PPCM program, as an intern and explore just a few of the many interesting objects in the vast Eastman House collection. The following is a small group of cat photographs. They are a great example of the incredible diversity available in the collection and not only show a variety of photographic processes and formats, but also illustrate a range of the different ways photographs have been used.

With something as simple as the subject of cats there are albumen cabinet cards, stereographs, and cdv’s; collotype prints; collodion POP; gelatin silver prints; gelatin glass negatives; photomechanical reproduction, and three color carbro prints, with uses ranging from advertising photographs by Nickolas Muray; postcards; Kodak amateur photographs and vernacular images; taxidermy photographs such as the album by Luis Soler Pujol; and a photograph from Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion series.

The goal at the PPCM program is to educate ourselves with photographic materials and processes along with photographic history and the social and cultural conditions of its production and reception, so that we can better understand, care for, and manage photographic collections. As even this very small, seemingly casual group of photographs shows, Eastman House provides an incredible opportunity for this type of research and education.

Enjoy the show!

McCall Magazine, Homemaking Cover, Cat & Kittens Date: 1942? Photo Credit: Nickolas Muray Property of: George Eastman House Parents Magazine, Girl with Cat Date: ca. 1945? Photo Credit: Nickolas Muray Property of: George Eastman House

Cats and Kittens Date: ca. 1900 Photo Credit: William M. Van der Weyde Property of: George Eastman House

Taxidermy cat with visible skeletal structure Date: ca. 1920? Photo Credit: Luis Soler Pujol Property of: George Eastman House

Cat; trotting; change to gallop From the series: Animal Locomotion Date: ca. 1884-1887 Photo Credit: Eadweard J. Muybridge Property of: George Eastman House

Ruined interior, Great Chicago Fire, image of cat montaged into foreground Date: 1871? Photo Credit: J.H. Abbott Property of: George Eastman House

Cat watching bird in cage Date: ca.1880 Photo Credit: Art Photo & View Co. Property of: George Eastman House

Cat family being photographed Date: ca. 1920 Photo Credit: Max Kunzli Property of: George Eastman House


Eastman House’s graduate program in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management (PPCM) is offered in conjunction with Ryerson University.

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The PPCM Experience

Posted by on Jul 16 2012 | Other, Photography, Student Work

A note from graduate student, Heather Westfall

In the fall of 2010 I began the MA degree program in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management with Ryerson University in conjunction with George Eastman House. One of the most enjoyable parts of my experience as a student in this program was my second year at George Eastman House. The staff was very helpful and friendly throughout my experience, and I can only encourage any prospective students who are interested in any of the courses offered at the museum. The courses are taught by the staff of the Department of Photographs, including senior curator Alison Nordström, and assistant curators Jamie Allen and Jessica Johnston.

Much of what I learned from studying at George Eastman House came from seeing and studying real photographic prints, not reproductions. This is particularly important when it comes to learning how to identify a photographic process to understand fully how a photograph is created. The George Eastman House collection is a wonderful resource for a student because the range of photographic processes over the entire history of photography that it contains; I was able to see examples of any process or technique I was curious about. All of our lectures on photographic processes or the history of photography were supplemented with examples from the collection, and in some cases allowed me to see a technique in person for the first time. While studying the photographs in the George Eastman House collection, we were given assignments to apply the skills that we had learned through the lectures, including those by Rachel Stuhlman, head librarian and curator of rare books, Mark Osterman, the Museum’s process historian and Joe Struble, the archivist of the photograph collection. We were able to apply these skills directly to the collection itself, working with collection items rather than a practice item.

In many cases we were given the task of cataloguing the object and creating housings to protect and store the photographs. I truly felt that I was working on something that helped the museum. During my time at George Eastman House I learned so much more then I had thought possible in nine months. The photograph collection and library are wonderful resources, and I cannot thank the staff enough for always being available to answer my questions and show me new things. A part of me wishes that I did not have to leave, but I know I will be back one day as an active professional in the field to research and learn from the collection.
-Heather Westfall

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To celebrate Tony Bannon’s tenure, we share 16 museum successes from his 16 years

Posted by on Apr 23 2012 | Student Work

Here at George Eastman House we are planning a farewell gala for Dr. Anthony Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director, for May 12 titled “An Evening in Technicolor.” He leaves Eastman House after 16 years at the helm. Over the next five days we will share highlights of the Museum’s amazing successes during his tenure.

At the top of the list are advancements in higher education, with one-year certificate programs and master’s degrees in film and photographic preservation, plus a decade-long fellowship program in photograph conservation.


1) The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation

Dr. Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator of Motion Pictures:

I recall Tony hammering out details with me, Jeffrey Selznick, and Trustee Ted Curtis in 1996 about starting the school, which was to be the first of its kind in the world. We soon will celebrate the graduation of the 16th class. The program offers a master’s degree in conjunction with the University of Rochester, and archives around the world are staffed by Selznick School graduates, allowing for a connected network that benefits film preservation globally.

“Gone With the Wind” screen tests, restored via a Selznick School project.


2) Photographic Preservation and Collections Management

Dr. Alison Nordström, Senior Curator of Photographs, Director of Exhibitions, and USA Director of the George Eastman House/Ryerson University MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management:

Eastman House has been training the next generation in the photographic field since 1947 and now more than ever there is a need for formal, high-level educational programs. To educate future leaders in the field, we established in 2003 a Master of Arts degree in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management with Toronto’s Ryerson University. This program, now also available as a one-year certificate program, is a comprehensive combination of practical and classroom experience, offering students access to renowned collections and faculty, as well as our library of photographica and conservation lab. Graduates of this program are working in archives and museums across the globe.

Conservator Taina Meller, left, with students of the Photographic Preservation and Collections Management master’s degree program.


3) Photograph Conservation

Taina Meller, Head of the Kay R. Whitmore Conservation Center:

George Eastman House has been a major influence in photograph conservation education and research under Dr. Bannon’s leadership. From 1999 to 2009, the Advanced Residency Program, generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and offered in conjunction with RIT’s Image Permanence Institute, provided an extraordinary educational opportunity for almost 40 conservators from all over the world. Today, many of the historic processes previously taught as part of this fellowship program are taught in workshops throughout the year at Eastman House and at the Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock , England. In recent years George Eastman House conservators have been called upon to conduct most challenging conservation treatments on iconic photographs. These include 1848 Daguerreotype Panorama of Cincinnati Waterfront, a significant collection of the first ever photographs of Manila, Philippines, and a glass interpositive of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Hesler portrait of 1860, Lincoln’s favorite – which arrived at the museum as shards of glass. An unprecedented series of grant awards supporting conservation have been hallmark achievements during Dr. Bannon’s tenure. These range from the NEA’s Save America’s Treasures grant to the inaugural award by the National Science Foundation, which we received collaboratively with the University of Rochester.

Tomorrow: We look at motion picture acquisitions, our library, and digitization of the collections

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