The ILFORD Manual of Photography

7th edition

This column is extracted 'word for word' from the fly leaf of the Focal Press 7th edition.

This column has details supplied by Doug McKee from his own copies of The Manual and information extracted from BJPAs.

This edition of "The Manual of Photography" marks a momentous event in the world of photographic literature - a major revision of the work which has started hundreds and thousands of photographers on their careers.

It has been completely updated to acknowledge the major developments in theory and practice over the last twenty years and it is now ready to be a major source of reference and an authoritative guiding text for the next generation of photographers.

The Manual of Photography" was first published nearly 90 years ago as "The Ilford Manual of Photography" (sic. until c1902 it was simply titled The Manual of Photography as Ilford Ltd did not exist until 1901) - it is the oldest surviving yet perennially contemporary textbook of its kind; a glance at its editorial and revision history will explain why. In 1890 its first editor was C. H. Bothamley whose work, reprinted, revised and enlarged again and again, ran to well over 300,000 copies.

My earliest copy is the 3rd thousand which I would date to 1892 because there is a printed price list bound into the back which is dated December 1891. The Manual has the price of 1/- embossed on the cover. I have a 300th thousand which is hand dated 1924. At that time it cost 1/6 (7.5p)

He was followed by George E. Brown (editor of The British Journal of Photography from 1906 until 1934) whose version of The Manual brought its circulation to half a million copies. First published 1935, cost 2/- (10p)
Second publishing 1937, cost 2/6 (12.5p)

In 1942 James Mitchell cast it into a new shape by producing a carefully balanced composite work which went into FOUR editions. The present numbering of the editions of The Manual began with these. Notwithstanding the half million copies and many revisions before it, the October 1942 edition became, effectively, the 1st Edition. The Manual acquired larger dimensions and now cost 10/- (50p)
2nd Edition Published in December 1942. This edition was Reprinted in August 1943.
3rd Edition in October 1944. This was Reprinted in July 1945.
4th Edition in July 1949. This was Reprinted in August 1950. The 1950 edition bears the following Foreword, which is dated September 1942 and so presumably appears in all editions from the 1st to 4th.
For over fifty years the ILFORD MANUAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY has been recognised as a standard work for photographers of all classes, and in this period nearly half a million copies have been sold.
From time to time new and revised editions have been issued to keep the MANUAL up to date as regards new developments, techniques, and applications. In the present instance the volume has been recast and almost completely rewritten to bring it into line with the best modern photographic practice. It is confidently believed that it represents a simple and straightforward account of photography as we know it to-day, from which it should be possible to obtain a thorough working knowledge of the subject.
In the compilation of this edition many members of the staff of Ilford, Ltd have assisted as contributors, advisers and critics, and the Editor desires to express his most grateful thanks to all of them, and particularly to Mr George Dorman for his untiring efforts in reading, correcting, and arranging the presentation and lay-out of the book.
The Editor would also like to take this opportunity of acknowledging the excellent matter provided by Mr F J Pittock, F.R.P.S., University College, London, in the chapter on photomicrography.

In 1958, Alan Herder, his successor in the editorial chair, became responsible for the 5th edition.

LAST edition by Ilford.

Fifth edition published May 1958. Reprinted eight times.
1st Reprint March 1959
2nd Reprint June 1960
3rd Reprint July 1962
4th Reprint April 1963
5th Reprint December 1963
6th Reprint March 1966
7th Reprint (with Revisions) September 1967
Additional material was included in appendices. The 7th reprint in 1967 had appendices including information on split-image rangefinders, new types of film base, modern film speed systems, monobaths (one solution combined developer and fixer), high definition developers etc. The price 'remained' at £2.2s (£2.10p).
8th Reprint March 1968

With the 6th edition, also edited by Alan Herder, The Manual was taken over from Ilford Ltd. by Focal Press and, for the first time, became fully independent from industrial interests and products. Published April 1971. Now named : The Manual of Photography
Reprinted December 1971
Reprinted September 1972
Reprinted September 1973
Reprinted November 1975

The 7th edition continued under the overall editorship of Dr. Ralph Jacobson who thoroughly revised it while retaining those parts
which still had relevance to modern (at the time) photographic practice. Colour photography was integrated into the text throughout.

In editing the Manual, Dr. Ralph Jacobson was assisted by Sidney Ray, Geoffrey Attridge and Nigel Axford, all members of the staff of The Photographic Sciences Unit of The Polytechnic of Central London.

Seventh Revised Edition, published January 1978
A 10th Edition was published in 2011 authored by Elizabeth Allen and Sophie Triantaphillidou, published by Taylor & Francis.

This page last updated: 9th December 2016