Quote Originally Posted by Wigwam Jones
Imagine this - a newbie hoves into view on APUG and innocently asks what the best way would be to process their own B&W negatives. After the eleventy-dozenth contradictory opinion, they throw their hands up and go back to C-41 chromogenic at the local high street shop. However, if given a basic set of tools, some D-76, fixer, and a scanner, and they discover the joys of fingertips that smell like fixer. Too much, too soon, and you lose them.
Actually, there was thread like that recently. I was pleasantly surprised at how few posters went down the road of zone system, or pyro, or similar topics. The suggestions quickly converged on using one or two films (FP4+/HP5 or Plus-X/Tri-x) and one developer (either ID-11/D-76 or Rodinal). A number of people made the point that the new photog should keep it simple.

I agree wholeheartedly that one need not take a course to learn photography. I have long been concerned about the conversion of universities into trade schools. The notion that a diploma hanging on the wall makes you an artist or a writer is silly. And by insisting on credentials, the economy raises barriers to entry into a field and reinforces existing economic disparities from one generation to the next. So I would never argue that one needs to take a class to become a photographer. I do find more and more people asking me how I learned various techniques and skills, and being shocked when I say I did some reading, then noodled around a bit, and talked to people.

One more thought - I've been to Wilson - you are right, it is not the middle of nowhere, more like a suburb.