Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Deterioration of Agfachrome slides

Deterioration of Agfachrome slides

From: J. Claire Dean <clairedean>
Date: Friday, November 12, 1999
I just returned from teaching in South Africa at the Rock Art
Research Centre, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
While there I was shown a very important collection of photographic
slides of  rock art sites, many of which are now gone or at best
badly vandalized.  The slides were taken in the 1960's using
"Agfachrome" transparency film.  Since they were given to the Centre
they have been stored in Johannesburg in reasonable conditions--not
the best, but not the worst I've seen either (closed original
containers, at room temperature (uncontrolled environment) and in
the dark, and/or in metal slide filing draws and cabinets, but not
in any type of plastic sleeve).  How they were handled prior to
their accession is not clear.

In the last few years they have begun to turn pink and fade, and are
obviously deteriorating as far as the image is concerned.  The film
itself seems to be fine (no obvious signs of going brittle, sticky,
or otherwise falling apart).  I personally also have slides (family
photos) on Agfachrome from the 60's that my father took, and I have
Agfachrome slides I took in the 1970's.  None of these are showing
signs of turning pink as far as I can tell.  Indeed, I still use
some of these slides for teaching.

Has anyone out there come across this particular problem?  Is it a
peculiarity of Agfachrome?  Can anyone suggest a colleague who could
advise on this problem?  The collection in Johannesburg is of very
great concern as these may be the only records in existence of some
of these sites and my friends there are at a loss as to what to do.
They have not yet copied them as they are afraid that doing so will
cause their loss without guarantee that the copy has been created.
They are also extremely restricted as far as funding is concerned
and have no way to cover the cost of duplication at this time.

I have not yet had time to try and contact someone at Agfa directly,
although obviously this is one avenue that I will pursue.  Does
anyone have a name or number for a technical rep at Agfa?

J. Claire Dean
Dean & Associates Conservation Services
3438 NE 62nd Avenue
Oregon 97213, USA.
Fax: 503-331-0762

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:29
                 Distributed: Friday, November 12, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-29-013
Received on Friday, 12 November, 1999

[Search all CoOL documents]