Mapping the Genome of Black and White Photography

Free registration

Wednesday, May 24, 
6:00 PM - Reception; 6:30-7:30 PM - Lecture
In partnership with the Ticknor Society
Presented by Paul Messier
NEHGS, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA

Join the Ticknor Society and New England Historic Genealogical Society for a special discussion on "the genetic makeup" of black and white photography. In the late 1990s, Paul Messier, now head of the Lens Media Lab (LML) at Yale University, began a collection of historic photographic papers with the aim of providing a baseline to date and authenticate photographic prints. Nearly twenty years and 5,000 samples later, this is possibly the largest collection of its kind in the world. Paul will discuss his work, the diversity and language of the medium, and how meaning and measurements can be drawn from it. 6:00 PM - Reception; 6:30-7:30 PM - Lecture.

Paul Messier is an independent conservator of photographs working in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1994, his studio provides conservation services for private and institutional clients throughout the world. The heart of his practice is unique knowledge and ongoing research into photographic papers. The Messier Reference Collection of Photographic Papers plays a vital role in this work. Continuing with the private practice, Paul was appointed head of the newly formed Lens Media Lab (LML) at Yale University in 2015. LML develops data-driven approaches for preserving and interpreting art and cultural material. Messier's research goals are focused on the creation, dissemination, and interpretation of large data sets derived from museum collections as well as from reference materials. Paul received a Masters of Arts and certificate of advanced study in the conservation of works on paper and photographs from the art conservation program at the State University of New York College at Buffalo (SUNY).