Posts tagged with negatives

A slice of Wellington life: the Berry & Co collection

  • Photographing a Berry & Co glass plate negative.  We use a Phase I P40 camera and Schneider 110 lens, used with extension tube, with a 40MB back.  This gives us a 38MB digital image, which is our ‘access master’ size.  Photograph Michael Hall, copyright Te Papa.
  • One of the transport chilly bins.  The negatives are stored in archival paper sleeves, to protect the surface of the image.  Photograph Anita Hogan, copyright Te Papa.
  • One of the transport chilly bins.  The negatives are stored in archival paper sleeves, to protect the surface of the image.  Photograph Anita Hogan, copyright Te Papa.
  • Negatives can be difficult to ‘read’, so creating a positive digital image makes it easier for us to improve our catalogue data, for example by using clothing details to estimate the date the photograph was taken.

Te Papa has a collection of nearly 4,000 glass plate and film negatives taken by the Wellington photography studio Berry & Co.  The studio was founded by William Berry in 1897, and operated in Cuba St until 1931.  The negatives are mainly portraits – of families, children, men and women, soldiers in uniform, the occasional… Read more »

Caring for our photographic negatives

  • Cellulose acetate film was used for negatives from the 1920s.  It tends to break down to acetic acid, causing the film to shrink.  This makes the binder layer form channels and spots, and the image becomes difficult to read.
  • Steve McStay and Paul Simpson sliding an empty drawer into the plan chest unit.
  • Steve McStay and Paul Simpson sliding an empty plan drawer into the unit.
  • An acetate negative with 'vinegar syndrome'

We have an enormous collection of photographic negatives and transparencies on glass and film, going back to the 1870s. They include all sorts of images from studio portraits to holiday snaps, landscapes, photographs of sports teams, and artists’ negatives and transparencies. Many negatives are chemically unstable and, if left in an uncontrolled environment, will deteriorate to… Read more »