Aitchison and Watters
Aitchison and Watters isn’t the only studio in the city that repairs works of art on paper, but co-owner Robert Aitchison is L.A.’s premier photo specialist. A torn, water-stained silver gelatin panorama of Echo Park from 1912, back when Sunset Boulevard was dirt and the only buildings there were a few farmhouses, is a current project. With help from his partner, Mark Watters, an expert in other kinds of paper, Aitchison will microscopically examine the work and clean it with filtered, pH-balanced water. Then the print will be flattened and lined with handmade mulberry-fiber paper. Those areas where the image has faded won’t be filled in—retouching is verboten. “Our primary interest is in preservation and stabilization, and it’s really important we focus on what’s the best job,” says Aitchison.