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View Poll Results: Do spots ruin prints?

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  • A slight blemish/spot is acceptable

    13 18.31%
  • ...is acceptable for private viewing, but not exhibition

    25 35.21%
  • ...ruins the print for any purpose

    33 46.48%
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  1. #1

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    How offensive are spots on prints?

    Getting a clean, dust free negative for printing is a PIA, but doable. But what about the black spots from dust on the negative in the shooting stage? Assuming correction on the print is impractical, would a single black speck in a broad expanse of sky (for example) ruin a print for you? I've seen exhibition prints with tiny flaws and was surprised how little it bothered me, but what's your opinion?

  2. #2
    KenM's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, when I see a spot on a print, I *always* see the spot. My eye is drawn towards it, forever more. I'd rather that wasn't the case, since I wouldn't have to do any etching
    Cheers!

    -klm.

  3. #3
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    It depends how offensive a spot it is! Yeah, if it's a big black spot in the middle of an empty sky, I'd do what I could to correct it--etch the print or opaque the neg and spot the print.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  4. #4

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    "when I see a spot on a print, I *always* see the spot."

    Yeah, I know. It's insidious. The damned thing grows to fill the field of view.

    Still, I'm trying to figure out the logic. Does a single clinker spoil a pianist's performance, or a smudge ruin a drawing? Heck, Pollack used to put out his cigarettes on his canvases. Yet the perception is that nothing but total transparency of process (perfection) is acceptable in photography. Why? It makes no friggin' sense to me. I see it as another symptom of photography's inferiority complex relative to the other arts that no trace of the creator or his struggle with the process is acceptable.

  5. #5
    Carol's Avatar
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    Spots of any kind on a print are totally unacceptable to me. I have an image of an old building and the light shines through a broken brick and LOOKS like a dust spot and it ruins the print for me. Of course I could be a teensy bit obsessive.
    Carol

    "Out, damned spot! out, I say!" - Lady MacBeth

  6. #6

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    Careful, Carol ...you're one step away from rejecting prints because there COULD have been dust spots

  7. #7
    jd callow's Avatar
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    white spots to me are intolerable (crap on the neg when enlarging).

    Black or grey spots can be dismissed depending upon location and type of image (crap on the neg when exposing).
    1. Black curlys in the sky--no thank you.
    2. Black dots in the pavement or trees--no problem.
    3. Black dots or curlys anywhere on a slick studio shot -- no way
    4. The same found in a still life like this or an image where content trumps craft or cleanliness-- no issues.

    *

  8. #8
    Ole
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    I thought I had a nasty black spot in the sky on one of my prints. Took the negative out, cleaned it, cleaned the carrer, put the negative back in, made another print - damn spot was still there. Looked at it through the grain focusser: It's a seagull....
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  9. #9
    geraldatwork's Avatar
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    I feel spots are unacceptable for exhibition only. But that includes either hanging in my house or giving to friends who might also exhibit them in some way. Given the ease of getting rid of the spots with Spotone or some other way there is no excuse.
    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
    African proverb

    IRAQNAM is Bush's legacy

  10. #10
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Spots are bad, but I am willing to break out the spot pens for most purposes rather than obsess over every little speck of dust. If it is very obvious, then sure, I will do the cleaning ritual again, and again if needed, but something small that can be spotted out is not that big a deal to me. Then again, I don't show or sell my prints, so I suppose that gives me a little breathing room.

    - Randy

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