He began his career in the conservation of artistic and cultural materials as an objects conservator. Following his graduate training at Buffalo State Art Conservation Program, he served as conservator at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, and then the Rochester Museum & Science Center in Rochester, NY. His involvement in photograph conservation began in 2003 as an advisor to the Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation at George Eastman Museum—he subsequently completed a residency fellowship. Through the subsequent years Ralph has been at George Eastman Museum pursuing daguerreotype conservation projects and conducting daguerreotype research. He is currently the primary researcher on the collaborative National Science Foundation (NSF-SCIART) grant with the University of Rochester to advance the scientific understanding and preservation of daguerreotypes.