Advanced Black and White Photography

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 218

       Course Name: Advanced Black and White Photography

       Credits: 3 (0 lecture; 6 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

ART 115 or consent of the instructor

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course refines darkroom technique of ART 115. Content includes issues of film exposure and development in order to produce “perfect” negatives, various films, developers, chemicals, papers and toners; medium and large format photography introduced. Focus is on student assignments and personal projects.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Consistently make good negatives, demonstrating full understanding of and control over the exposure/development process.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of what chemicals do to film and paper, by developing a more intelligent and efficient processing technique.
  3. Implement archival processing and storage of negatives and prints in order to ensure their maximum permanence.
  4. Apply processing controls, taking into account that different films, papers and chemicals have different characteristics.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. The Negative
    1. Basic principles of negative-making
    2. Controlling exposure and development
    3. Bracketing exposures
    4. More complex negative-making methods
      1. Exposing for maximum shadow density
      2. Changing exposure and development
      3. The Zone system – Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, Minor White, John Sexton, Paul Caponigro, Arthur Lazar, etc.
      4. Basic sensitometry
    5. Reciprocity failure
    6. Close-up photography
    7. Filter factors
  2. Photographic Chemistry
    1. How each chemical works
    2. A guide to common photographic chemicals
    3. Mixing your own formulas
    4. Formula storage and capacity
  3. Archival Processing and Storage
    1. Reasons for staining and fading
    2. Good fixing and washing techniques
    3. Drying prints
    4. Mounting prints
    5. Negative and print storage
  4. Processing Controls
    1. Film Processing
      1. Development controls
      2. Replenishing developers
      3. Temperature
      4. Agitation
      5. Reversal processing
      6. Intensification and reduction
    2. Print Processing
      1. Development controls
      2. Two bath development
      3. Water bath development
      4. Toning, bleaching
  5. Introducing the Medium Format Camera
  6. Introducing the View Camera

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Media presentation of work in black and white, including the work of previous students  in the areas being studied
  2. Demonstrations of exposure and printing techniques during class
  3. Critiques of student work, both in progress and at the end, to develop standards and evaluative criteria
  4. Assignments requiring the student to solve problems
  5. Field trip to the Art Institute Print Study Room

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Attendance is expected for all class sessions.
  2. It is essential to be on time; lectures and slide presentations take place at the beginning of class and will not be repeated.  
  3. All assignments/projects are to be submitted on time and demonstrate proficiency.
  4. Attendance at review sessions and critiques is required.  Active participation in critiques is a key component of the course grade.
  5. Do all the shooting assignments and turn in proof sheets of each assignment during the scheduled critiques.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

It should be noted that you can expect to spend a minimum of $120.00 on supplies for this course.

Source Book: Henry Horenstein, Beyond Basic Photography, Chris Johnson, The Practical Zone System

Additional Source Material:  London and Upton, Photography

Black and white supplies:  18% gray card

Papers: Various multigrade and graded black and white fiber based papers.

Films: Black and White negative film from various manufactures in 35mm, 120, and 4x5.

Additional supplies purchased by the student:

Approximately 20 rolls of film

10 11x14 White Museum Grade non- textured mount boards.

Oakton supplies the photography facility, which includes enlargers, chemicals and studio equipment.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

 The final grade will be composed of the following elements and their indicated weights.
  1. Quizzes                  25%
  2. Final examination   25%
  3. Critiques                 25%
  4. Final critique           25%

XI.   Other Course Information

Please note:
Some of the activities, lectures and assignments in this class may include imagery that is controversial, uncomfortable, shocking, has nudity, and personally unpopular to one's beliefs. If a student objects to this practice, he/she is encouraged to discuss with the instructor early in the semester alternative ways of completing course requirements.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.