Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
John makes an excellent point in my opinion. Consistent, high quality negatives certainly make printing less troublesome, but developing printing skill is where the biggest bang for the buck is. A great printer can often work wonders even with a crap quality negative and save the image. A mediocre printer on the other hand will probably make mediocre prints of perfect negatives, and be at a loss to print from crap negatives (which will inevitably happen). I'd take some proverbial pages out of Ansel's books on this issue. He was able to control most of his negatives very well, but some of his most powerful images exist despite relatively poor negative quality.
I think the intention should be to make a great negative. It would be rather counterproductive to make crappy negatives, because at the end of the day we all screw up enough times anyway that we are challenged to make a good print.

Sure it's more difficult to make a good print from a shitty negative, and it does teach us to appreciate AND recognize the good ones. The increased difficulty probably does make us better printers, but I don't think anybody here can recommend to make it a goal to make shitty negs just to learn to print.


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