(315) 685-8534 — Skaneateles, New York
West Lake Conservators is proud to announce that our Photographic Materials Conservator Luisa Casella has been awarded Fellow status by the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). Fellow Membership is awarded to conservators with a minimum of ten years of full-time commitment to conservation. This award recognizes her commitment to the field through volunteer work, education, publications and research.

Luisa began her career 27 years ago when she undertook her baccalaureate in Conservation and Restoration in Tomar, Portugal. Her journey has taken her around the world delivering lectures, volunteering, expanding educational boundaries, and preserving photographic materials.

We met Luisa as an international attendee 15 years ago at our Recovery of Western Materials Workshop in 2005, and she joined our team at West Lake Conservators in 2013 after earning her MA in Conservation and Restoration.  With a commitment to preservation and a critical work ethic Luisa has become the head of our paper department and is among our senior most staff members. Before joining our team, Luisa has authored articles in over seven conservation publications in Topics in Photographic Preservation, ICOM-CC Triennial Meeting Preprints, and the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation.

Since joining West Lake Luisa co-authored the paper Investigation of Portrait with Applied Oil Color that was presented at the 2018 AIC Annual Conference, which was published in full in the post prints.  She also co-authored a paper which was presented at the 2015 AIC Annual Conference Treatment of George Keyt’s Stained Glass Mural Cartoons – Oversized Drawings and Photographs. Luisa co-authored this paper as part of a multi-year joint project with the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass, during which time she developed treatment protocols for oversized photographs and stained glass design drawings. Luisa also supervised and mentored numerous interns during this time, providing training and professional guidance, as well as leading workshops on photograph conservation. Luisa is active with AIC’s Photographic Materials Group and was integral in the preparation of their Analog Photographic Print Sample Set.

West Lake Conservators is the most recent organization to have the pleasure of working with Luisa. Prior colleagues would also like to take a moment to honor her as well:

My first interactions with Luisa were when I was a summer graduate intern at The Met in NYC in 2010. Luisa was clearly a talented conservator, and her passion for her work and research were infectious. I am sure she influenced me in part to choose Photography Conservation as a specialty. It was around that time at The Met that I decided to do so. – Tatiana Cole

I had the great pleasure of working with Luisa for close to 5 years. I learned something new every day that I worked with her, either about conservation, photography, or classic Hollywood scandals. She was always so generous with her knowledge and her time, and always willing to listen to questions or explain a treatment. Working alongside Luisa made me a better conservator and, honestly, a better person. On top of that, we always had a ton of fun at work. I miss her every day! – Moya Dumville

[…]She was the force, maybe not the only one, but a critical one, behind the development of the Photograph Conservation Wiki site, a very early use of the power of that open source search and retrieval platform. Although not intimately involved myself, I do know how much she shaped that resource from its inception, and that the imprimatur of Eastman Museum and the Mellon Foundation coupled with Luisa’s energy and vision made it happen[…]. – Ralph Wiegandt

Luisa Casella’s is highly skillful and ethical, exemplifying the very best in photograph conservation from examination thru treatment to preventive conservation and advocacy…. Luisa is an effective ambassador for the conservation profession. She is true treasure and her kindness and enthusiasm beloved by many.  I am fortunate to count her as a colleague and wonderful friend. – Debra Hess Norris