A sound understanding of photographic history goes hand in hand with an understanding of the technology and processes through which images, both photographic and otherwise, were created. It is about understanding the tools that were available to photographers and artists to express their art, the inherent possibilities and limitations included. It would be incomplete without some first hand experience of silver-based and alternative processes, and the experience thereof will inevitably lead to other avenues for some of the students (of course not all).

In addition, there is great value in forcing a student to see, and express, within the confines of analogue processes. It takes away the immediacy of digital feedback, and forces a slower, more selective and deliberate process. I have heard from countless dual platform photographers how film encourages the acquisition and maintenance of good habits, that in turn then improve their discipline and results when using digital. Of course this is not universally true, and some digital-only photographers have more discipline than some film photographers.

At least one reason for encouraging analogue processes is the inherent beauty they are capable of. While it seems perfectly logical that digital processes will eventually surpass all analogue ones in terms of hard numbers, it takes nothing away from what can be done with the analogue processes, and does not diminish their contribution for the past two centuries. At present, it is still significantly expensive and time-consuming to produce results that are on par with analogue prints. What is more, the value of hand-crafted printed images will not diminish in the sea of electronically produced and displayed imagery. Just as hand-woven, hand-knitted, hand-carved, hand-painted etc. retain their value amidst machine driven processes that dominate the mass markets.

When encouraging analogue photography to be taught, you contribute to the demand for the materials, thereby helping to keep the remaining suppliers afloat, and helping all of us in doing so.