This article points to cases around the world in which old photographs have been used as the basis for restoring damaged or destroyed public treasures to their "original" condition. The author asks, however, whether photographs can really be reliable historical documents of the past of some object or place that is much older than the art of photography itself. Among his conclusions is that in historical restoration efforts, photographic "evidence" often depicts an arbitrary point in history that is taken at face value and institutionalized as "official truth." He offers some tentative recommendations for future restoration efforts involving photographic evidence.
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