Back in the late '60s I had an acquaintance who attended Brooks Institute of Photography, then came home and showed me some 4x5 b/w negatives and prints he'd learned how to make. After a few questions I found he'd absorbed a "cookbook" procedure (do step 1, then step 2, etc.) but had not a clue what to do if his materials became unavailable or if his print preferences changed later on. Granted, his mental acuity may have hampered his learning, not to discredit the school. So it's likely best to start students with one film/developer and one paper/developer, then progress to other materials for those interested in doing so. I presume you have access to a darkroom, so the end-to-end process can be experienced.
I also have another acquaintance - a very creative person, offspring of a professional photographer, who wanted to learn from the start. She attended a photography school on the east coast and returned to discuss what she learned there. I made the mistake of trying to introduce her to the Zone System and found that her right brain would simply not function with plots/graphs. Her eyes glazed over and her mind went closed CLUNK. But she survived my attempts and went on do wonderful b/w work professionally. Creativity trumps technical stuff, but the foundation is essential.
So FWIW I'd suggest sticking with Ilford products, because they'll be around for some time, say HP5+ and Ilfotec HC 1+31 developer (similar to Kodak HC-110), together with MGIV paper/developer. To avoid the learning curve for variable contrast print materials, you could start with a graded paper such as Ilford Galerie.
Last edited by silveror0; 10-06-2013 at 05:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.