A fair portion of India's rich history and heritage has been documented through photographs. In many cases, photos are the only link that we have to the past and the only thing preserving the memory of what once existed. It could be about a family, a wedding or some research and documentation. The images are long-term memoirs that we aspire to treasure for the present as well as for future generations.

Today, a vast amount of this photo-documentation in India is on the verge of getting damaged and irretrievably lost. Inappropriate storage, handling, display and climatic conditions are some of the basic reasons for the deterioration of photographs.

With the aim to give a fillip to the ongoing efforts to preserve the history and priceless memories and to create awareness on Photo preservation, conservation and restoration, the Goa Center for Alternative photography in collaboration with the CSMVS Museum Art Conservation Centre has initiated this one-day symposium as part of Historical Photo Restoration Week. Supported by the Goethe institute/Max Mueller Bhavan, and Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, this symposium will bring together international and national experts from multiple disciplines comprising artists, art historians, conservators, curators and scientists, to gain a holistic view of the many facets of Photography. The main goals of this symposium are to: highlight photography as a living art; explore technical aspects of the craft through history; discuss cultural differences in conservation approaches; and provide a platform for dissemination of recent scientific findings

Symposium format
This first edition of the one-day symposium comprised of two sessions presided over by  Ms. Gisela Harich, Head - Center for Photo Restoration and Photo Research, Belin, an internationally recognized photography conservator, who would also be the keynote speaker.

Symposium Topics
Relevant research work on all aspects of photography preservation and conservation including but not limited to:

  • Condition of collections in India
  • Examination
  • Identification and analysis
  • Documentation
  • Preservation and treatment of historic to contemporary materials
  • Storage
  • Exhibition
  • Digitization
  • Ethics and sustainable practices
  • Challenges of current economic restraints
  • Environmental issues
  • Disaster preparedness, response and recovery

Who attended?
Symposium was aimed at collectors, custodians, professional and aspiring conservators, and other professionals involved with the care, conservation and management of photographs.


Potential contributors were requested to submit abstracts of up to 300 to 40 on any of the above mentioned topics by January 15. 2014.  Authors of accepted abstracts were requested to submit an extended abstract by January 22, 2014. The accepted abstracts will be published as part of the ICR conference proceedings which will be distributed to the conference participants.

Abstract submission                                      January 15, 2014
Notice of acceptance                                     January 17, 2014
Submission of extended papers                      January 24, 2014
Symposium                                                  January 27, 2014 


Participants were required to register, to the symposium on ‘Photography conservation and Collections management’, by sending an email or phoning us.

Rapporteur notes for the Photography Symposium