Photographic Preservation; On Becoming A Professionalized Field
thesisposted on 2021-05-24, 07:23 authored by Megan J. Kirschenbaum
This paper considers whether or not the occupation of photographic preservation is a professional field, discussing both its current attributes and the elements that are still missing. It includes a discussion of the histories of photographic preservation and conservation, and of the growing interest in advanced professional education. It also includes a historical account of how the only MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management grew into what it is now. Drawing on the work of sociologists on the topic of professionalization, this paper asserts that a professionalized field demonstrates certain characteristics that include unified knowledge, standardized skills, and codes of ethical conduct. By comparing the field of photographic preservation to other more established professions my research shows that the field of photographic preservation and collections management is moving toward a professionalized state. This paper concludes with a proposed 'Code of Conduct' document suitable for the field of photographic preservation.