While I think that emulsion making is a highly laudable practice that can give one a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the photographic process, I do not think NOT teaching emulsion making merely mix and stir. First, I feel what goes on prior to and during the moment of initial exposure is paramount. Some of the world's best photographers never even contemplated making emulsions. Those who did their own printing learned to work with the commercially available products and created well crafted prints of excellent photographs. I have known highly skilled photographic technicians whose picturing taking results left much to be desired. I worked with an optical engineer who designed systems for SAC, but whose pictures were boring and sterile.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
I find that in any given class there may be a student or two who express interest in the chemistry of analogue photography. Those students are few and far between. Yet many students are producing good work, and small number are turning out wonderful photographs with a very limited understanding how it all works. (Despite my best efforts to stir their curiosity and present at least some theory.) Introducing students to a process such as palladium printing, even if it comes in kit form is an excellent way to spark that curiosity and give them the experience of creating a printing paper with a unique visual quality just by wusing a few simple chemicals. IMHO.