DISGUST WITH DUST NEEDS TO BE DISCUSSED (not merely cussed)
Long ago, I learned how to blow... But before disclosing the fine art of this procedure, first...
I am fanatical, even maniacal, about dust. If I visit someone, I first seem to observe, by default, any thin layer of dust upon flat surfaces. I say nothing but it does mean something to me, at least subliminally. Almost daily I am on my hands and knees with a bucket of slightly soapy, warm water and a large rag scrubbing my linoleum floor in my tiny efficiency. (I hate rugs, which seem to be, oftentimes, too unclean for me.)
But with smaller stuff, like negatives in negative carriers, the assault must become more vital and compelling, because that image is going to be enlarged. If you feel that I am becoming too obsessed about this I invite you to do the following (and this is ESPECIALLY for the pros out there): If your camera has no film in it, open the back and remark to yourself how clean it seems. Now, under a strong light, with a magnifying glass, take a closer look. Chances are, it is truly dirty with dust. Moral: when you enlarge, you have an obligation to downsize your mentality and 'become', temporarily. as large as an insect so that you can see, first hand, how dirty life is at that subordinated level. Then, how do you truly get rid of dust?
Again, the art of blowing correctly has been learned by me, long ago. Merely blowing dust becomes an exercise in frustration because of two factors: 1) saliva going along with the air and 2) anchored dust particles remaining stubbornly intact because of static electricity. I do the following: first, dry your inner lips with a clean tissue so that NO saliva can exit your mouth. Then, do the following SIMULTANEOUSLY, blow (about 6 inches away from what you are blowing) while using a camel's hair brush to quickly dislodge what stubbornly wants to remain behind. The combination of both the wind and the dislodging, AT THE SAME TIME, prevents any dust from remaining behind. Finally, quickly, before any airborne dust gets a chance to settle anew, remove the clean item from open air exposure. This means putting the negative (which was already in its carrier) quickly into the enlarger after removing dust from BOTH sides in this way, or quickly closing the 'camera back' after cleaning its film chamber, or thoroughly cleaning reusable 35mm cassettes, inside and out, including the felt trap, before putting them into film cannisters for clean safekeeping. - David Lyga