Since their first use about 150 years ago, silver halides have remained the primary photosensing materials in an image capturing process known as photography. Silver halides have retained their pre-eminent role despite numerous attempts to replace them with other materials. Even in the present era of electronics, conventional photography remains the most popular format for recording still images. When compared with electronic imaging, silver halide photography retains an edge in resolution, latitude, and convenience.
The current superiority and popularity of conventional photography stem from an unusual confluence of properties found in the silver halides. The ensuing articles will discuss the properties that make silver halides particularly well suited for photography. The article by L.M. Slifkin discusses the improbability of any one material having the characteristics of the silver halides. F.C. Brown describes the special electronic properties, and P.W.M. Jacobs covers ionic characteristics. C.R.A. Catlow gives us some insight into the nature of the silver halides based on their interatomic potentials. This introductory article presents an overview of the photographic process.
The theory of the photographic process has its roots in the Gurney-Mott model of latent image formation. Since it was first proposed over 50 years ago, this model has formed the basis of mechanistic thinking about photography.