SU22 Thursday Further Topics in Black & White Photography

Day/Time: 8 Thursdays starting June 23, 6:00-8:30pm

Location: SAA Darkroom (W20-426)

Instructor: Jacob Geiger

Black and white photograph of large room with decorative vaulted ceiling and a white square at the vanishing point.
Hiroshi Sugimoto, Ohio Theatre, Ohio, 1980.

This course is for students who have some prior darkroom experience developing film and making prints. Please contact the instructor if you are unsure whether you have the prerequisite experience for the course.

Students will refine their techniques for capturing images and making prints across 35mm, 120, and large formats using analogue black-and-white techniques. Technical topics covered: sheet film development, pushing/pulling film, color filters, spotting, split-grade printing, use of SLR and TLR medium-format cameras, use of the view-camera with movements. Students will also study images and texts from photographers and critics to deepen their understanding of how these techniques can be used in the service of their own personal visions.

Materials will be discussed on the first day of class. Students should secure film and 35mm cameras before the first class; other supplies will not be needed until the second class:

  • A 35mm camera with manual focus and exposure modes.*
  • 50 sheets fiber-base (FB) multigrade black and white photo paper, 8 x 10 inches, pearl or glossy.
  • 5 rolls of 35mm film**
  • 5 rolls of 120-format film**
  • 25 sheets of HP5 or Tri-X 4×5 film
  • A box or 3 ring binder to store negatives
  • An 8″x10″x1″ proof box to store prints
  • [Optional, recommended]: 10 sheets 11×14 or 16×20 FB pearl/glossy paper

*The SAA has a limited number of 35mm cameras available for check-out, but students in the introductory course are prioritized for these cameras. Contact the instructor if you are interested in reserving a 35mm camera from the SAA. Medium- and large-format cameras will be checked out to students on a rotating basis during the course and do not need to be purchased.
**Ilford HP5 or Kodak Tri-X are recommended as medium-speed, standard options, but other film types are acceptable.

Places to buy materials:

  • Locally: Hunt’s Photo and Video There is one located in Cambridge and one near Kenmore Square.
  • B&H Photo and Video, KM Camera, and Adorama have large online stores (and brick-and-mortar locations in NYC) that are often cheaper than Hunt’s. B&H offers an educational discount if you create an account with your MIT email.
  • KEH sells used cameras and lenses and offers a student discount
  • It is also possible to purchase cameras and lenses over eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace, but these can be riskier methods that offer little recourse if something is wrong with the equipment. Consultation with the instructor is encouraged if using these sites.


  •  June 23, 2022 - August 20, 2022
     6:00 pm - 11:55 pm
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