Photographs are created by the actions of light and chemicals and are produced by a variety of complex processes.

Many of them have faded away due to their inherent instability or overexposure to high levels of light, heat, humidity, and pollution. Photograph conservators investigate how these delicate works were made and their deterioration mechanisms. They design and carry out procedures aiming to stabilize photographs and improve their appearance and also form protocols regarding storage and display which will ensure no further damage is done.

The section is responsible for the care, treatment and presentation of the vast collection of the Benaki Photographic Archive. The photographic processes comprising the collection are dated from the beginnings of photography (daguerreotypes) and include a great variety of photographic materials covering the historic and technological evolution of the medium. A major part of the collection consists of negatives, glass plates and plastic film. Therefore special attention is given to their conservation and preservation.

The Archive’s storage facilities have been especially developed for the collection and provide the most suitable environment for the housing of the delicate photographic materials. Conservators are involved in the monitoring of the conditions (temperature and relative humidity) and are responsible for choice of the storage materials and the implementation of storage methods and procedures.

Thorough identification and research on photographic processes is carried out, aiming towards the better understanding of the nature and the structure of each object. A variety of conservation treatments on photographs is performed. They may include from surface cleaning and repair of small tears to more complex procedures, such as lining with different techniques, the reassembly of torn and damaged photographs, stain removal and treatment of mould. Along with conservation treatments the photographic material is also digitally documented.

Conservators are also assigned with the preparation of the photographic material for exhibition purposes (conservation, mounting and framing) and advise on the environment during traveling exhibitions.


138, Pireos St, Athens.
Tel: +30 210 3612430, +30 210 3626215
Fax: +30 210 7258589