Collection, Conservation, Innovation
Sevruguin, like other Qajar photographers, used the albumen process to produce his photographic prints. First invented in 1847, this method became widespread in the second half of the nineteenth century. The name comes from the mixture of albumen (egg white) and salt with which the paper was coated in order to create a glossy surface. The paper was then dipped in silver nitrate and water to render it sensitive to UV light. Once dry, the paper was placed under a glass negative and exposed to light, the image transferring from the negative to the paper as a positive. Since the paper used was so thin, it had to be mounted onto a supportive surface. The prints of Sevruguin in the OI Museum’s collection, for example, were fixed to photograph mounts with an adhesive. The color of the mounts and of the photographs has changed slightly over the years. Recent conservation treatment and the acquisition of new archival storage materials—both carried out in connection with this exhibition—help to preserve the photographs, ensuring their availability for future studies.
The conservation of the albumen prints was funded by a generous grant from the American Institute of Iranian Studies.