AXA-Art project with the CRCC for the preservation of the photographic heritage

Following AXA Art global’s successful sponsorship of the Conservation Project with the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany, Tate Gallery, UK, AXA Art has developed a conservation project: AXA Art is provided a grant for some groundbreaking preventive conservation research done at the Centre de recherche sur la conservation des collections in France. Collections of photographs have enjoyed a continued success and growth over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, some photographs may be very fragile. A photograph is a complex assemblage of materials; many of them are fragile and may discolour, deteriorate, weaken, break, endangering the survival of the image. Many photographic prints seem to be in good condition but many others have begun to show signs of degradation caused by internal factors. Most colour photographs are bound to fade in the dark or exposed to the light. The best approach to preserve objects that have such “inherent vices” is to store or exhibit them in an appropriate environment that will not stop the effects of time but can slow them and make them more predictable. This two fold project aimed to increase the awareness on the protection of photographs and to introduce a new tool for monitoring the lighting during exhibition in galleries, museums and houses.
The AXA Art-CRCC Photograph Project, was run from 2010 for 2 years, focused on the dissemination of basic care for the photographic images. At the end of the project, a short and succinct owners’ guide for the care of photographs, containing simple considerations that could be taken to prevent fast deterioration of photographs was published. A tool to monitor the light exposure of photographs during exhibitions has been be developed.
The project was headed up by Professor Bertrand Lavédrine, director of the CRCC and AXA Art head quarter in Cologne.