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Interview with Paul Messier

Interview with
Paul Messier
Crystal Sanchez and James Smith
April 3, 2013
Interview Category
Conservator Interview

Conservator Paul Messier

"In an overarching sense, I do not see such a fundamental break as some people may see between electronic-based object and an analog object. I think the fundamental and historic [difference is that] if you go back to the beginning of image-making—for example the caves in Lascaux—to make an image, you needed to manipulate materials. Any image had to have some sort of material-based incarnation. So really, the historic shift that is taking place is that [the connection with materials] is not necessarily so anymore. You can have images, video or still or different projections, that are completely independent of materials in many ways."

Paul Messier is an independent conservator of photographs. In 1998 he founded the Electronic Media Group of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). He was elected to the AIC board for two terms, serving from 2004-2010. While on the board his major initiatives included the publication of the AIC Guide to Digital Photography and Conservation Documentation (2008), the transfer of ConservationOnline and the ConservationDislist from Stanford University (2009), and the establishment of the Conservation Catalog Wiki (2009). Visit his studio's website at:

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