B&W printing – dust free negatives

light box and dusting kit

I spend lots of time right at the start of my printing sessions to ensure I am going to print from a dust free negative. Spotting, particularly spotting out hairs from a finished print, is another time consuming skill to master particularly if the print has warm tones.

I clean my carrier glass with lighter fuel using a lint free cloth and brush the glass with a ‘sable-type’ cleaning brush. Hopefully my negative is pretty clean when I take it out of the storage sleeve but I carefully check it with a magnifying loupe and brush off any particles with a puffer brush. Once in the carrier I again check with the loupe (my younger eyes did not need this aid). I use both a light box to see dark coloured particles and I also hold the carrier over a sheet of black paper to spot lighter particles especially small hairs. Single particals can be lifted off with a clean spotting brush.

Aerosol dust off cans are handy but can blow dust about rather than removing specific particles, also it is easy to blow the negative out of your hand and across the room or worse still make a horse-shoe shapped buckle in the negative… more expensive brands are easier to control. Half and hour or so seems like a drag but a clean print is much more satisfying solution than having to spot out pointless dust.


This entry was posted in How to Tips.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *