NB23, I'm sorry you hadn't heard of HCB before but that shouldn't matter. I tried to get a feel for what you might have experienced so I went to Wikipedia and looked for an unfamiliar name in the list of photographers. I hadn't heard of Laura McPhee before today. Now I found someone whose work is worth seeing. She doesn't use black borders.

I printed one print tonight. It felt weird dumping chems after one shot. But that's all I had time for and there is a backlog of negatives I am anxious to see. 100% full-frame with grimy border, from a 6x9 folding camera with an inaccurate finder. It's an interior scene, my daughter on a bed with her stuffed animal. It's at one of those bed and breakfast places where the rooms are done up in period furniture and everything just fits in to give the picture an authentic old era feel. The picture oozes with more curtains and wallpaper at the edges. There was tolerance in the composition, but I cannot imagine it cropped any other way. I get it. Sometimes it all comes together and it's great. Sometimes you miss though, and you have to decide if you are going to show it anyway with the flawed composition, or keep the standards high and pass the defective negative by.

I personally try not to hold impossibly high standards, so depending on the other strengths of the image, a distraction in the composition won't always disqualify a negative from my consideration. My photos from Russian River were like that, little problems here and there that detracted from some of the images - but I made many prints anyway. Then, from the batch, a few unique photos came out that may have never been printed if I waited for it all to be perfect.