James M. Reilly and Ryan Boatright

I-35: The Identification of Photo Print Processes

20-24 July 2009


1) How useful were the pre-course readings?


1: Very useful. 2: Very good. I did not have a lot of background knowledge coming in so the readings helped. I think the selection for materials like this is limited, and they selected well. 3: Absolutely essential for this course because of highly technical nature of photo processes. 4: The pre-course readings were very helpful, especially JR's book. 5: The pre-course readings were excellent. The technically oriented information was especially useful preparatory reading. I am glad I was able to start reading long before the course started (and then re-reading what I could). 6: The readings were very helpful, and they provided a very good foundation for the course. 7: JR's book was very helpful—I am planning on buying a copy for myself when it comes back into print. The color photography book (Coe) was less helpful - I found that it didn't explain most of the processes; it was more of a laundry list. 8: Essential background reading for the course. The book on digital prints that will be published soon (and which was mentioned in class) might be a good addition for future pre-course reading. 9: The readings were very important to understanding more readily the presented material; the more read prior to class the better the understanding in class. 10: JR's book was extremely helpful for the c19 processes. Read it carefully beforehand.


2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?


1: Yes, the PowerPoint print-outs could have been in color and/or labeled, though. 2: Excellent! We got a huge binder with PowerPoints, handouts, goodies. I have already referred back to it this week alone. 3: Yes. 4: The course notebook will be extremely helpful—especially the identification guides. The PowerPoints printed a bit small for reading, but JR is willing to provide the PowerPoint to class members. 5: The notebook helped so much! Along with the notes I took, this will be a wonderful resource after I return home to work. 6: Yes—printed PowerPoint was too small to be able to make use of charts, etc.—and in black and white not helpful for color identification, but instructors graciously allowed me to have it put on a flashdrive. This will allow me to use it for reference in the future. 7: The printouts of the PowerPoints would be more useful if they were in color (especially for the lecture on color photography!) 8: The PowerPoints will be very useful—the handout on modern photo papers is a bonus, which I am happy to have. 9: I particularly liked the slide style with notebook space for notes. This coordination between screen and notebook allowed me to always know where the discussion was focused. 10: Yes - I will certainly use the workbook whenever working with photographic materials.


3) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?


1: I hope to go to graduate school to study photographic preservation, so the identification of prints is key. 2: Intellectual level was appropriate. I liked photography history, "the look of silver", history of color photography especially. 3: Hands-on examination of photos under various levels of magnification. 4: The course built from a general overview to very specific photographic aspects, all to aid identification. The photo preservation section was definitely useful, as deterioration is part of identification, and understanding why determination happens will help us maintain photographic collections into the future. 5: I especially enjoyed the earliest, historical aspects, but the range of materials covered was appropriate. The instructors were excellent, and their shared knowledge base was impressive. They complemented each other very well, and the class intensity never wavered. 6: All aspects were of interest. Identification of processes were of greatest interest. Detail of explanation was thorough. Presentation was made in a very understandable way. 7: All the hands-on time with actual photographs, with access to the microscope and being able to ask questions of the professors was probably where I learned the most, though I certainly needed the lectures to prepare me to look at photos. The level was appropriate. 8: I was most interested in the 19th-century processes, but was grateful for the more modern component. 9: The identification of photographs and photo mechanical processes from the 1830's to present gave me the precise information that I sought. JR and RB have a great facility for presenting a massive amount of complex material in a clear and understandable form and all within the allotted time. 10: The intellectual level was most appropriate. It would be hard to name a topic that was not of interest or relevance. All of the identification units were useful as well as the discussion on preservation and environmental monitoring.


5) What did you like best about the course?


1: The hands-on learning style. 2: Being in contact with the materials. 3: A) Working with photos hands-on. B) Explanations of chemical/atomic principles of processes affecting photos. C) JR. 4: The instructors. JR has an incredible knowledge on the subject, and he can explain very technical concepts clearly. He also has fantastic anecdotes! RB also provides good context to technical concept, and he brings to the classroom the eye of the artist. 5: I have acquired a much more extensive foundational understanding then I could have imagined. This is well-thought, well-organized course with two of the best instructors I have had. 6: The amount of expertise the instructors brought was fantastic. They each had their strong areas and balanced each other well. They were patient and thoughtful in answering all questions. I can't pick one particular thing I liked best—it was all wonderful! 7: The instructors! Both JR and RB were incredibly knowledgeable and clear, not to mention amiable. 8: Without a doubt, the chance for hands-on practice identifying photo print processes. The humor and expertise of the instructors! 9: As far as I know this is the best course on this material being offered anywhere for any price. 10: JR and RB. They made an excellent team, and their long experience with the processes was readily apparent. They both are great teachers, who are able to explain, in different ways, what one should see—how one should approach these materials. I loved all of the hands-on work with the photographs and photomechanical prints; they were highly instructive.


6) How could the course have been improved?


1: More hands-on, less about PEMS/101; a chance to lay out many of one kind of print at once to see similarities/differences in toning etc. As in the 1860-1970 albumen prints. More time with microscope. 2: More time with materials! 3: Hand-out with JR's photo key (in his book) and/or new edition of his book. Arrange key photo process sheets with alpha order in binder. 4: Perhaps with more examples? The mixed packets on Friday were great for reinforcing what we learned all week, as was the final test, which had contextual clues. 5: Maybe pass around a few examples for 5-10 minutes during early morning lectures. 6: More materials to study—although it was not lacking in this area. 7: Having taken Terry Belanger's print identification course, I think a test structured along the same lines (identify 30 or so examples Monday morning, don't tell us what they are, redo the test on Friday) would be very effective in this course as well. Also, maybe make the lecture on IPI's history a bit more brief. 8: It could have been longer! Perhaps another chance for an extended print identification session. 9: My only suggestion would be to have more labels on photo examples even realizing the wide variability from one to another. 10: Perhaps JR and RB could use a few more objects in the course—show a lantern slide, for example, or a halftone block. I'd love to see a printing frame, for example, or a video of someone making a photographic print.


7) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa's Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?


1: Everything was handled well. 2: I thought all items were handled well. We had a brief discussion about handling prints and we were off to the races. 4: All materials were handled appropriately. 6: I think everything was handled with care and respect. 7: Perhaps people should be reminded to wash their hands after—lunch and breaks—other than that I think handling was fine. 9: None. 10: The teaching materials were handled carefully in the context of the classroom hands-on work. We did not handle rare materials for the most part.


8) If you attended the Sunday and/or other evening lectures, were they worth attending?


1: Yes, a great opportunity. Perhaps more after-session study groups for those in the class to go over materials. 2: Yes. As a first-time student I learned a lot from both lectures. 3: Yes, especially enjoyed Monday lecture by Mark Dimunation on Thomas Jefferson's books. 4: Yes, both were excellent. MD is an extremely gifted speaker. 5: The Monday lecture was especially worthwhile. 6: Lecture was great. Video night was ok—some other evening options would be nice. 7: Yes. MD's Monday night lecture was the most interesting and entertaining lectures I've been to thus far at RBS. 8: Yes, especially since I was not familiar with RBS history. 9: Yes. 10: Yes! TB's lecture was informative, as always. MD's lecture was delightful— among the best RBS lectures I've attended. Thanks, MD!


9) Did you get your money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?


1: Yes, I learned a lot. I wish there were an option for graduate-level credit though. 2: Absolutely. I only missed two on the final test! 3: Yes! I'm sure I'll be back soon. 4: Yes, the course is well worth the money. JR and RB teach very easily and naturally together. 5: I would most highly recommend taking this course to anyone interested. 6: Yes I felt it was a good investment. I hope to come back. I would highly recommend RBS to others. 7: Read all of JR's book! 8: An excellent course that I will highly recommend to anyone who asks. 9: There is more value for the dollar than anywhere else. 10: Absolutely. This is a fabulous course, useful to anyone who works with c19 or c20 materials. I was grateful for all of the details on inkjet and thermal dye transfer processes. Students who have taken TB's illustration processes course will want to attend this. Thank you, JR and RB, for shedding light on these subjects.


Number of respondents: 10





Institution gave me leave: 60%

I took vacation time: 0%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off: 40%



Institution paid tuition: 20%

I paid tuition myself: 30%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or scholarship: 40%



Instution paid housing: 25%

I paid for my own housing: 55%

N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home: 10%



Institution paid travel: 20%

I paid my own travel: 50%

N/A: lived nearby: 20%


There were 2 rare book librarians (20%), 2 general librarians with some rare book duties (20%), 1 full-time student (10%), 1 retired museum volunteer (10%), 1 recent library school graduate (10%), 1 personal property appraiser (10%), and one curator/administrator (10%).