James M. Reilly and Ryan Boatright

I-35 The Identification of Photographic Print Processes

16-20 July 2012

1)    How useful were the pre-course readings? (Leave blank if you applied and were accepted late for the course, and thus did not get the list in time.)

2: Very useful. 3: James Reilly's (JR) book was perfect; but I shouldn't have tried to read the color photography book first! I wish there were one or two readings on digital photographs. 4: Very useful. 5: They were terrific. Especially JR's book on c19 photographic print processes. 6: Pre-course readings were useful and having the objects and the instructor to explain things unclear in the reading was very useful. The chart that comes with the book is extremely helpful and will continue to be. 7: Very useful: comprehensive, informative, practical. 8: JR's book is incredibly helpful—I ended up buying my own copy during the week. 9: Extremely helpful! JR's book was incredibly informative and gave me a good base of knowledge on which to build in class. The color book was generally useful, but a bit too detailed to be usefully absorbed. 10: Helpful. It would be a good idea to have taken TB's intro course on illustration processes and/or an intro to photographic techniques beforehand. 11: Pre-course readings were fine. Hard to read cover-to-cover without context of class. I found it best to skim through before course and then re-read appropriate chapters each night during the course to reinforce what we learned. 12: The required readings were essential to have a basic understanding of the photographic processes. The supplemental readings were also useful. 13: The pre-course readings were all interesting and helpful. Of course, JR's book was an imperative. I would like to have used the Image Permanence Institute website in advance, so that could be added to preparation for the class.

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

2: Yes to both, especially for future reference. 3: Yes. Definitely. 4: Yes. 5: These were great and will be very helpful in the future. The printed PowerPoint slides were great to take notes on. 6: The workbook will continue to be useful. 7: Yes; plan on using both the books and classroom materials often. 8: Excellent! Very helpful. 9: They were both appropriate and useful during class. I am especially interested in using the Graphics Atlas at home (which we used a bit in class). 10: Yes. 11: Workbook is handy to have. I will put it on my office shelf and use when I need to identify a photograph. 12: Some of the PowerPoint screens did not print well or were too small to read on paper. Between the printouts and my notes, plus JR's book, I will be able to better identify photo processes. 13: In class—perfect for note-taking. It was good to not have a separate notebook that would eventually become separated from the binder. I have terrible handwriting, so I wished I had my mini-booklite to illuminate my page. Later—will use it to help me assemble a small reference collection.

3) Have you taken one or more RBS courses before? If so, how did this course compare with your previous coursework?

1: Yes. One of the better courses, both instructors know their subject (especially JR, who exhibited a phenomenal breadth of knowledge on the diverse processes and their history). 2: I've taken many and this was comparable in quality. 3: This course is one of the best RBS courses I've taken. It is one of the great stars. 4: Yes—the hands-on activities are always the best part. 5: Equally as good as one other; much better than another. 6: This course was wonderful. It surpassed my expectations, which are high since I have taken other RBS courses. 7: No. 8: This course was much more structured and concrete in terms of teaching resources and learning outcomes. 10: Roughly comparable to my previous RBS course. 11: I have taken more than five and less than ten RBS courses. This was a very good course. The instructors were knowledgeable and passionate about all aspects of the history of photography. This class ranks among the top three I have taken. 12: Yes, this is my seventh course. We had two tests—something we didn't have in other classes. We had a good mix of lecture with PowerPoint followed by hands-on handling and identification of photos. 13: I took one class last year, which I enjoyed very much. However, this was far superior in terms of instructors, organization, flow, and practice.

4)    What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes?

1: c19 photography. 2: Identification. 3: All of it! The c19 in particular. 4: How to identify; deterioration. 5: Learning about the various types of prints in a way that made the processes more sense. 6: Identifying processes will be the most relevant aspect of the class for my purposes but everything taught was interesting and useful. 7: Actually, it all really applied in great measure to my work. The class was so good that I know it will vastly improve my day-to-day tasks. 8:  All of it. Particularly c19 and early-mid c20. I haven't had to work with much digital material, but will likely see more in the future as my institution builds its collections of c21 material. 9: All aspects! As an archivist in a photo collection with formats ranging from c19 to today, I will use everything we covered in class when I return to my institution. 10: c19 print processes and how to identify them. 11: For my work, I was most interested in c19 processes, but I gained a greater appreciation and understanding of c20 and c21 processes through this course. 12: Being able to identify aspects of photographic processes that will then help me to compare them to examples in JR's book is most helpful since I couldn't always remember the name of each process but recognized the attributes. 13: Overview of wide range of photographic processes; process of observation and identification based on "evidence"; overview of deterioration visible and use as evidence.

5)    Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?

1: To some degree ... the first step so to speak. Much learning left to acquire. 2: Probably too detailed with respect to the vast number of variants in c19 photographic processes. More generalization would have been helpful. 3: Yes, very much so. JR and RB are brilliant teachers; I learned so much! It was difficult, but worthwhile—a challenging course, but one I very much enjoyed. 4: Yes. 5: The instructors were fabulous! They always kept the intellectual level high but also explained things quite clearly. 6: The instructors were amazing. They conveyed information that seemed very technical and difficult to grasp with ease and in a way that made the information accessible. 7: Yes. Not only was the information initially included in the class terrific, but the additional knowledge JR and RB offered through their experience was unbeatable and freely offered. 8: Both JR and RB are excellent teachers—patient, knowledgeable, great senses of humor. 9: Yes! JR and RB are excellent teachers, and can explain technical information in a way that is very accessible and understandable. 10: Yes to both. 11: The intellectual level was just right (though I was a bit rusty on my Chemistry 101). Both instructors were consummate teachers—very clear, very thorough in making sure I understood the concepts and skills. 12: Yes, yes. 13: Yes—this was an excellent beginning to developing these skills. Intellectual level was very appropriate and shifted as needed—JR and RB have tremendous experience to share, but more than they could pass on in one week. They modulate quite well!

6) What did you like best about the course?

1: JR's anecdotes. 2: The large number of actual examples distributed. 3: The wonderful faculty members, and the onslaught of information they gave us. I particularly enjoyed the way JR and RB's knowledge sets were complementary. 4: Making photos; trying to identify examples. 5: Hands-on time with photos—more, please! 6: I liked going through the photographs and working to identify them. 7: Instructors, comparison exercises, examples to view hands-on, vast amount of information, books and materials: all top-notch. 8: Combination of lectures and hands-on work. 9: Working hands-on with examples of different types of photographs. 10: Hands-on workshop to create gelatin print from glass negative. 11: I liked really digging into the history of photography and learning about the various formats and technologies. Both instructors had a wealth of knowledge to share and interesting experiences in the field of photography, conservation, chemistry, history of Kodak, &c. 12: Being able to see actual photographic specimens reinforced identification. There's nothing like seeing the original to help with identification rather than relying on reproduction in a book. 13: Hands-on after each lecture; observation followed by feedback.

7) How could the course have been improved?

1: Since I'm a bookseller, would like to have seen more examples of how the diverse processes are used in book production. 2: See response to question number five. 3: A little less PowerPoint and a little more stuff, please—but the balance is only a little off.  4: We were pressed for time at every session ... I would have liked opportunity to sit with examples (in the evening, perhaps) to use identification sheets to go through and try and identify at my own pace. 5: Opportunities to test ourselves throughout the week would be very helpful. 6: No improvements that I can think of. 7: Great as is. 8: N/A. 9: It would have been great if we had an opportunity to purchase a sample set of digital prints (ink jet, dye sublimation, microporous, swellable, &c.) for reference. 19th- and 20th-Century samples of photos seem to be easy to come by, but digital prints are harder to find second-hand. 10: 1) There is so much information about processes and how to identify that it might be useful to split the course in two, either chronologically (19th-, 20th–21st-Century) or by process (black/white photographic processes, color photographic processes).  2) I would have liked to see a bit less lecture and a bit more hands-on in the course structure. 11: One more hands-on activity like making the POP prints, trip to UVA Special Collections, or trip to University Press to see printing in action. 12: A little better timekeeping to get us out for breaks, fewer digressions into how the instructors work so we could spend more time on photographic processes. 13: Introduce website in preparation guide.

8)    Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn?

1-2: Yes. 3: Yes! Amazing! 4: Yes, though I have much more to learn/absorb before I get there completely. 5: Yes. 6: Yes, I learned more than I expected to learn. 7: Yes, and more. 8-13: Yes.

9)    Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course?

1: I learned I need to learn more on the subject; this course was an introduction. 6: I learned more than I expected to and I learned that I have a lot more to learn. 7: Yes, and more. 8-9: Yes. 10: Basically, yes. I sometimes felt there was a little more detail than I really needed to know, which cut out the general overview that I wanted. 11-12: Yes. 13: Yes, and more!

10)  How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?

1: In daily work, i.e., cataloging books. 2: In building my own collection. 3: I will be including many images in an exhibition soon, and I will be using this knowledge to decide what can or should be shown and what I can say about it! 4: Working with collections to be able to identify types and potential risks to items. 5: Cataloging photos, helping researchers and students, supporting faculty, providing care to our collections. 6: I will use the knowledge and skills often as I encounter photographs in the collection. 7: I work with photographs every day at work, and this will be a tremendous aid in the identification and evaluation of them. 8: During my day-to-day work with collections material. 9: Identifying types of prints when processing, cataloguing, and digitizing collections; identifying at-risk formats and providing appropriate storage conditions. 10: In working with photograph collections at my institution to better identify techniques and genres, for one part, and preservation issues, on the other. 11: I am working on a project to identify photographs from a reference collection to be removed to the stacks due to rarity, condition, &c. I expect that what I learned this week will aid me in this. 12: I will be able to properly catalog photos and photo collections now that I know more of the photographic processes and not just say "one photographic print." 13: Develop my own reference collection; use in my research; assist in identification.

11)  If your made any trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?

1: Yes. 3: Absolutely! Making a photograph with c19 technology helped cement everything in my head. 4: Yes—making a printing-out-process gelatin photo from glass plate negative. It would have been nice to make/watch demo of developing-out-process gelatin photo as well. 5: The printing-out and darkroom experience was great fun and highly instructive. 7: Yes. The creation of printing-out-process prints to show process was fascinating and gave great insight into how to look at photographs. 8: The darkroom visit was fantastic. 9: Yes! Making our own silver gelatin POP prints in the university photo lab was a great experience, and really helped me understand the printing-out process. 10: Yes. 11: Yes! Loved printing out a photo in the dark room. 12: N/A.

12) If you attended the optional evening events (e.g., RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?

1: Yes. 2: Yes, the lectures were particularly good. 3: I would appreciate more lectures from scholars. 4: RBS lecture interesting—loved Sue Gosin's (SG) samples. 5: Lectures were great. 6: I very much enjoyed the lectures, especially the talk by SG. 7: Yes. The lecture was terrific, and addressed different aspects of the book world in novel ways. 8: The lectures were very interesting. 9: Yes—the lecture and forum were both on topics that are not in my natural area of interest, yet I found them both engaging and fascinating. 10: The two lectures were interesting. Did not attend Video Night. Bookseller's Night was better the last time I was here, when more booksellers participated. This time around it was a bit of a bust. 11: N/A. 12: The RBS lecture and RBS Forum were interesting talks with visual aids and objects. I did not attend Video Night; Bookseller's Night was not worth it to me. I didn't find anything I wanted/needed but had a chance to get downtown. 13: Yes! Especially SG lecture.

13)  We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching  collections and of materials owned by the 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?

2: None. 3: No complaints. 4: They handled collections safely. 5: None. 7: None that I could see. JR and RB were especially careful with the items. 8: N/A. 11: None. 12: Proper handling was always observed.

14)  Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Would you recommend this course to others?

1-2: Yes. 3: Oh, you betcha! 4: Yes and yes. Just wish we had more time to practice. 5: Yes and then some. Yes, of course. 6: Absolutely—great course well worth the money. 7: Absolutely. And absolutely yes. 8: Yes. 9: Yes and yes! 10: Yes to both. 11: Yes!! 12: Yes—for anyone working with photos this course is absolutely essential. I will share the information I learned with my cataloging team. 13: Yes and yes.

15)  Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year? (If you have further RBS praise or concerns, or if you have suggestions for a new course, please contact Amanda Nelsen [an2b@virginia.edu] or Michael Suarez [mfs3x@virginia.edu].)

3: This course was absolutely outstanding. RB and JR are great teachers and great people; JR's depth of knowledge is staggering, and RB's modern and artistic perspective is inspiring. 5: I can't say enough about the instructors. They are so smart and very gifted teachers and so very nice. Thank you both! 7: JR and RB are truly wonderful: experts in their fields, deeply knowledgeable, infinitely giving of their time and insights (also, funny!). RBS is lucky to have them. 8: Great job by all: JR, RB, and RBS staff! 10: The instructors are both extremely knowledgeable about the subject, and very approachable. 12: Great program as usual! 13: Extremely talented teaching team.

Number of respondents: 13





Institution gave me leave


10 (77%)


I took vacation time




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


1 (7%)


I am self-employed

Work has nothing to do with RBS course


2 (15%)




Institution paid tuition


10 (77%)


Institution paid tuition ___%




I paid tuition myself


3 (23%)


Exchange or barter




N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship




Institution paid housing


5 (38%)


Institution paid for ___% of housing




I paid for my own housing


5 (38%)


N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home


3 (23%)





Institution paid travel


6 (46%)


Institution paid ___% of my travel




I paid my own travel


4 (31%)


N/A: lived nearby


3 (23%)




There were three antiquarian booksellers (23%), one lawyer (7%), one full-time M.A. student (7%), one conservator/binder/preservation librarian (7%), one library/university administrator (7%), one museum employee (7%), one photo archivist in a research library (7%), two rare book librarians (15%), one cataloger of literary and historical manuscripts (7%), one librarian with no rare book duties (7%)



How did you hear about this course?


RBS Website

8 (63%)

RBS Printed Schedule

1 (7%)

Work Colleague

2 (16%)

Other: 1 (7%) (Michael Suarez talk at SAA 2011)



Word of mouth

1 (7%)





Where did you stay?

Brown College: 4 (31%)

Cavalier Inn: 2 (17%)

Courtyard Marriott: 1 (7%)

Hampton Inn & Suites: 1 (7%)

Other: 2 (home), 2 (Dismore House) (31%)

Unspecified: 1 (7%)