Photo-documentation: Before, During and After

Along with the condition description, at least three photographs of each book were taken before any treatment was begun. The three photos included the front cover, the back cover, and the spine. Given the scope of the SAT project, these three standard Before Treatment photos still resulted in over 4,500 photographs. It took over a month to finish this photodocumentation.

If needed, additional photographs were taken when a book had specific damage not visible in the basic views. Examples of these are a photo taken from a diagonal perspective of the corners of the boards or perhaps of the book laying open. These basic views offer much information about the book’s original structure. And they always come in handy when matching colors, replicating the original spine label or replacing endbands as the treatment progresses.

To finish the documentation process, during and after photos are usually taken. During photos of the actual treatment in progress are reserved for those books undergoing extensive conservation procedures. These are useful in tracking the changes of the artifact as certain treatments are performed. After treatment photos will accompany the documentation as evidence of what conservation procedures were performed. As the book continues to change over time, a future scholar or conservator will be able to see what the book liked before its treatment as well as what the intended outcome was, even if the book is damaged again.