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Saturday, May 31 • 11:00am - 11:30am
(Photographic Materials Session) The Kodak Dye Transfer Process - How Eliot Porter Captured Color

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The Kodak Dye Transfer process was the most successful and popular variation of photography’s dye imbibition, three-color assembly process. Materials were manufactured from 1945 until 1993, after which practitioners were limited to either using stockpiled materials, or trying to produce their own. Today, Kodak Dye Transfer prints are highly valued and considered to be relatively stable, but only a handful of practitioners remain.

A study was conducted at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art on the Kodak Dye Transfer process and the archive of American color photographer Eliot Porter (1901-1990). Porter used the process as his primary medium for the entire period it was being developed and improved, thus making his archive an ideal sample group for the study of Kodak Dye Transfer materials.

This presentation will focus on the technical development, characterization, and conservation treatment of Kodak Dye Transfer materials. It will discuss the changes in manufacture of the paper base and dyes, and physical characteristics associated with these changes, such as paper surface textures and gloss, UV fluorescence, and baryta content. Results will be presented on tests of the effects that various common treatments potentially have on Kodak Dye Transfer materials; treatments such as surface cleaning, tear mending, and reducing planar distortion.

Findings from this study will provide conservators, archivists, and curators with historically interesting and practical information. The goal is to help the community more precisely identify and characterize Kodak Dye Transfer and other dye imbibition type prints, and inform conservation treatment of these kinds of materials.


Tatiana Cole

Fellow in Photograph Conservation, Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Tatiana Cole is the 2012-2014 Post-Graduate Fellow in Photograph Conservation at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, working under the mentorship of Sylvie Pénichon. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Florida International University (2006), and an M.S. from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (2012). Her interests as a graduate student lay in photographs, modern materials, and new approaches to preserving... Read More →

Saturday May 31, 2014 11:00am - 11:30am
Grand Ballroom C