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The studio provides the following analytical services:

  • Microscopic examination

  • Ultraviolet induced visible fluorescence (UV/visible) imaging

  • Reflected infrared (IR) and transmitted IR imaging

  • Micro-reflectance transformation imaging (micro-RTI)

  • X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF)

  • Paper fiber analysis

  • Characterization of texture, gloss and thickness

  • Other services can be provided on an as needed basis

These services can be offered separately, or combined to provide a complete picture of the methods and materials used to create the object. The studio can provide recommendations for which analytical services might be appropriate for your project.

Authenticity Studies

Based on studies of the studio’s reference collection, methodologies for determining the manufacture date of photographic paper have emerged and are under active development. Such studies can be valuable in the context of authentication, provenance and art historical inquiries. Typically, research involves a combination of examination and analytical tools.

The studio’s work exposing fraudulent prints by Lewis Hine was a breakthrough in terms of providing benchmarks for objective and empirical dating of fine art photographic prints.  The Hine analysis received widespread press coverage including articles in ARTnews, The New York Times (x2), The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly and The Economist.   Profiled in the March 2008 issue of ARTnews, the studio’s reference collection and work characterizing photographic prints were described -- “The advances will reduce fraud, influence the marketplace, and even revise art history.”

A more complete list of past and ongoing studies is available here.


The studio has developed a system with lighting array and microscopic imager to capture reflectance transformation images (RTI) of microscopic surface textures. In collaboration with the MoMA, Rick Johnson of Cornell University, the studio is producing "micro-RTI" texture images to compare unknown textures against a texture library derived from the studio's collection of photographic papers.


Paul Messier Conservation of Photographs & Works on Paper

Photomicrograph of cotton fibers at 400x, Fibers have been stained with Graff C stain.

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