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Photographic Chemistry

This series of self-study modules and webinars was initiated by FAIC in 2015, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  This page will contain information about the course, links to course components, and supplemental materials, such as outlines and quizzes.

Photographic Chemistry Course Resources

Self-Study Modules: A series of self-study video lectures on specific topics in chemistry of photography.  Information to be posted late in 2016.

Webinar Series: Webinars introducing the self-study modules and offering opportunities for discussion will be offered in late 2016. 

Course Materials: Outlines, self-study quizzes, and further reading will be linked here after the courses begin. 

Silver Image Formation

The Silver Image Formation course consists of two series of self-study video lectures and accompanying webinars and materials.  The instructor is Scott Williams, Professor of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry at Rochester Institute of Technology. Additional materials about the course, including registration information, will be available in late fall 2016.

Required Prerequisites 
Prior to starting the modules, participants should refresh their knowledge of basic chemistry.  The following tutorials, available without charge on the Khan Academy site ( are highly recommended: 
  1. Introduction to the Atom
  2. Orbitals and Electrons
  3. Periodic Table, Trends, and Bonding
  4. Acids and Bases
  5. Oxidation Reduction
  6. Organic Structures and Acids/Bases
Additional Reading
Carroll B.H., Higgins, G.C. and James, T.H. (1986) Introduction to Photographic Theory. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Eaton, George T. (1980) Photographic Chemistry in Black-and-White and Color Photography.  Dobbs Ferry, NY: Morgan & Morgan, Inc. Third edition.

Eaton, George T. (1987) “History of Processing and Image Stability” in Pioneers of Photography: Their Achievements in Science and Technology.  Springfield, VA: SPSE-- The Society for Imaging Science and Technology, pp. 87-93.

Haist, Grant. (1979) Modern Photographic Processing. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Vols I & II.

James, T.H. ed. (1977) The Theory of the Photographic Process.  New York: Macmillan. Fourth edition.

Ostroff, Eugene. Managing Editor. (1987) Pioneers of Photography: Their Achievements in Science and Technology.  Springfield, VA: SPSE-- The Society for Imaging Science and Technology.

Sturge, John M., Vivian Walworth, and Allan Shepp, Editors. (1989) Imaging Processes and Materials.  New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.  Neblette’s Eighth Edition.

Williams, S.A. (2007)  20th Century Materials and Process Essentials in Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th Ed., Michael Peres, editor.  New York: Focal Press.