Unveiling Roland Oliveira’s photographic images: development of an unrolling and flattening treatment for silver gelatine 35 mm negative films
Keywords:Unrolling, Flattening, De-shrinking, Cellulose acetate negatives, 35 mm films, Physical deformation
The photographic collection by the sports photographer Roland Oliveira (1920-2007), belonging to Sport Lisboa e Benfica, is comprised of an estimate of 40000 images captured in 35 mm silver gelatine negative film, which are currently rolled and stiffened.
This study has strived to survey the current procedures undertaken by Portuguese institutions concerning the conservation of these type of materials, by conducting a questionnaire. It became evident that new treatments to allow the flattening of rolled films were needed. Therefore, a conservation treatment was developed to unroll and restore the original flatness of the negatives under study. The main purpose of the treatment was to enable proper handling, digitization and storage of this collection. The developed procedure was based on a de-shrinking process (chamber with vapours of glycerol, acetone and water) adapted from the conservation of motion-picture film literature, combined with flattening under weights. This paper discusses the adopted methodology which allowed to achieve positive results.
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