Plans are afoot.  I’m collecting equipment for my darkroom. I wouldn’t say all I need is the darkroom but as well as all the film processing gear I now have a selection of books on darkroom printing, a print drier and a drying rack.

I was also given a book: Beginner’s Guide to Darkroom Techniques by Ralph Hatterlsey. I’ve only had time to dip into the book to get an idea of what I have in store when my darkroom is set up but I’ve already learnt an interesting and bizarre tip.

And it doesn’t matter whether you develop your own, print your own, or send it out to the lab and scan at home. Dust is the enemy of the film enthusiast. And compressed air is your friend.

Image: ronet self portrait
Self portrait on Brown Knoll

But now, thanks to Ralph,  I can give you another tool in your arsenal of weapons against the evil mote – your nose.

According to Ralph, a sable brush stroked a couple of times in the oily crease at side of your nose will pick up grease like nothing else. Apparently, the grease will be visible on the negative but won’t show up in the print.  And I can’t be sure that it will work equally well on scans, but it might be worth a try. As long as you have a greasy nose.



  1. Dust is nothing like the problem it is in print darkrooms than it is in scanning. Neg scratches, otoh, are a nightmare. You can dob them out when on a computer, but in the darkroom it’s almost (altho not entirely) impossible.

    Get a box of white cotton gloves from the chemist, store your negs in nice clean acetate sleeves, and see if you can grab a set of b/w spotting inks.

    Also, clean the enlarger lens before each session.

    You’ll be fine. 🙂

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