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Photo conservator sees the big picture

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

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The Weissman Preservation Center is home to a team of highly specialized conservators and technicians, dedicated to safeguarding millions of rare holdings – books, prints, manuscripts, maps, photographs, drawings – at Harvard Library.

As one of two preservation staff members dedicated to photo conservation, Elena Bulat describes her role as “chemist, art historian, photographer, and much, much more.”

She came to Harvard seven years ago from the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., an international museum of photography and film.

Q. Are photograph conservators a rare breed?

A. If you did an informal survey of photograph conservators across the globe, they number only about 70 or so. It’s a field so small that I know almost everyone by first name, whether in Europe, New Zealand, or Russia.

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