Photographic Conservation...

The photograph conservation process

Photographic Conservation

Photographic Conservation at Max Communications

Our photographic conservation service offers:

  • Initial assessments of material and creation of bespoke condition reports and treatment plans.
  • Advice on storage and planning for further long term preservation .
  • Surface cleaning.
  • Safe storage and access solutions for items such as broken glass plate negatives.
  • Rehousing into new archival quality storage solutions.
  • Creation of bespoke folders and boxes for storage.

All photographs deteriorate over time and using the correct photographic conservation techniques is therefore essential. The deterioration will accelerate if the photographs are not stored in the correct conditions. These conditions will vary depending on the original format e.g. print, glass-plate or film.

Photographic conservation focuses on the conservation of a wide variety of photographic materials including positive prints and negatives on a range of bases from paper, glass, cellulose nitrate, cellulose acetate, to polyester.

As always, the goal is to preserve and stabilise as much of the original materials as possible based around the core professional ethics of minimal intervention and reversibility/re-treatability.

Conservation treatment can in many cases improve image quality, but the main aim is to ensure the physical stability and accessibility to the item.

Successful long term conservation of photographs depends on the storage environment and we provide a comprehensive storage environment assessment as well as advice and solutions.

Collections on which we have undertaken full preservation assessments for photographic conservation purposes include:

  • News International
  • Cartier
  • Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineer Corp.

Max provide a full range of conservation and storage services. For details please visit our conservation and storage page. We also offer comprehensive digitisation, digital preservation, archive management and digitisation project management solutions.

If you'd like to get in touch to find out more about our services please use the buttons below or call us on 020 8309 5445


I have worked with Max Communications and the team for some years. In recent work with their Archivematica iteration in the College Archives and Corporate Records Unit, and other digital work required by varying cohorts in Imperial, Max Communications have been responsive, innovative and demonstrated great problem-solving abilities. The Max Communications team, from the top down, is approachable, friendly and keen to help.

An example is in their engagement for some major confidential scanning projects. The projects were discussed, scoped and agreed to a high standard of hand scanning. Benchmarking was agreed to our satisfaction when the project started, with a fast progress time for the work. They provided rapid access to files, including digitising out of sequence, e.g. one such turn around for hand scanning, editing and proofing a large file was within 3 hours. The digital delivery was by secure online transfer, and the hard disks and hard copy delivered securely by courier.

On a lighter note, digitisation of 1960s academic cine film was carried out promptly and to a high standard, such that it can be reshown at a major conference

--Anne Barrett | College Archivist & Corporate Records Manager | Imperial College London