·  Matthew Butson
Vice President of Hulton Archive
·  Lenny Hanson
Conservator of Hulton Archive
·  Sarah McDonald
Curator of Hulton Archive
·  Lee Shoulders
Director of Archival Film Content
·  Fox Photos Daybooks
·  Le Grice X-Ray Photograph
·  Roger Bannister breaks four-minute mile, 1954
·  London Stereoscopic Company
·  Rod Steiger, 1955
·  Blondin Crossing Niagara Falls, 1858
·  Tennyson's Idylls of the King, 1873
·  The Great East River Suspension Bridge, 1886
·  Hay Elevator, 1937
·  Eva Peron, 1951
·  Marilyn Monroe, 1956
·  Lauren Bacall, 1954
·  The Express Collection
·  Conservation
Rod Steiger, 1955
Photographer: Baron

This photo of Rod Steiger was taken by British photographer Sterling Henry Nahum Baron, known as Baron. Just four years after his acting debut, Steiger’s career was already soaring. Baron, on the other hand, died the following year during an operation, ending a potentially legendary career.

The image was recently restored by Hulton Archive conservator Lenny Hanson. “We often deal with reticulated negatives,” said Hanson. “Chemical deterioration causes the acetate layer to shrink, distorting the emulsion. We remove the acetate and place the emulsion layer on glass. It’s time-consuming but worth it for valuable images like this one.”

Diacetate, and later triacetate, was introduced to replace highly combustible nitrate film stock (often referred to as safety film). While not a safety hazard, over time, acetate film has proven unstable giving off acetic acid fumes (known as ‘vinegar syndrome’) and ‘wrinkling’ as various elements shrink or expand at different rates.

Although the process to separate it from the rest of the subbing layers and plastic support can take several hours, the image-bearing emulsion usually remains undamaged. The negative is soaked in a solution of butanol until it begins to separate into its primary layers.

The delicate emulsion is carefully removed and repositioned on a clean sheet of glass, using a weak solution of PVC glue, and the new glass negative can once again be printed or scanned.

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