I attended Sylvie Penichon’s Contemporary Photography: Techniques and Preservation workshop on the second day of the conference. The workshop was divided into three sections:
Printing processes – terminology, characteristics and identification
Conservators have the challenge of keeping up with digital printing technology – inks, papers and printing. How do you conserve these prints for the future?
Digital printing processes are rapidly evolving and there are many different types, such as chromogenic, silver dye-bleach, dye diffusion, continuous inkjet, and drop-on-demand inkjet. Inks can be UV curing, solid, or based on dye, pigment, water, solvent, or oil. Paper, on the other hand, ranges from bond to art paper, and inkjet to coated inkjet. It is impossible to test every combination for print permanence!
To complicate matters further, there is no standard terminology in use, and artists are experimenting with various techniques and methods in their prints. For example, artists Ackroyd & Harvey create photosynthesis images on grass.
Sylvie recommended using a standardised questionnaire when acquiring photographic works into your collection to gather as much information as possible, such as this form endorsed by The American Institute for Conservation and its Photographic Materials Group.