Responsibility to the earth and future photographers...

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by vpwphoto, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I am bemused by a current APUG discussion about a 100% natural camera. This being said, I think it best to re-use the current over supply of high and low end film equipment. There is more expired film out there than we might imagine also. The "damage" to the planet in the manufacture of these goods has already been done.

    Additionally DO NOT OVER WASH your prints and negatives. If becomes something of great importance in 100 years a conservator will re-fix, wash, or re-print as needed.
    Nothing worse than archival preserved negative and prints in the landfill 2-weeks after your inevitable dirt nap.

    I came upon this philosophy after photographing for a newspaper, the negatives in the archive were under-fixed, and under-washed yet still perfectly fine after 50 years. I find most people are self important archival paranoids in the beginning of their pursuit and realize that only the best final prints need that archival touch.
     
  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    Well, for my carbon printing process I use used litho film people toss out for my temporary support (and it gets reused many many times) and the final support is old photopaper that is fogged and would otherwise be tossed out. Ninety-five or so percent of my equipment has been bought used.

    I wash long -- we have more water than we can use here. We have the infrastructure to support two paper pulp mills and the millions of gallons of water they require. But one mill is torn down and the other not working due to the market, so we (the rate payers) have the expensive and extensive infrastructure to maintain and very little industrial demand for the water.

    I often have heavy a petrol-investment in my negatives (used a lot of gas driving to Death Valley this winter!) -- seems silly to waste the use of those resources by under fixing and under-washing the negatives!

    Vaughn

    PS -- our water comes from wells in the river beds (~30' down into the gravels) and not dams.
     
  3. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Why do so many people advocate to save water, but nobody talks about switching from inversion to rotation processing to save chemicals? What's worse for the environment, using more water than absolutely required or dumping more chemicals than needed into it?
     
  4. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I saw the light of rotary processing a decade ago. I didn't mean to not wash your prints... people just go nuts with it. 2 hour film washes and overnight print washes. It's silly.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Inversion and replenishment uses very significantly less chemistry than one shot rotation & dumping.

    Also I tend re-use wash water when processing batches of films in two or three tanks, a bit like cascade washing of prints which is the most efficient use of water.

    Ian
     
  6. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

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    Overwashing does not make any damage to the environment. The water goes to the sea, evaporates, becomes rain, and it ends up in you tap and the cycles begins again. That on the assumption that "overwashing" water is basically clean. It may certainly damage your wallet.

    If there is a water problem in your area, things are different. Also, water can cost a lot in certain areas more than in other areas.

    In that case if one wants to reach true archival paranoid washing standard, there are chemistry products available to that end which allow deep washing without much use of water.

    For instance the Ornano catalogue states about the product "eliminatore di iposolfito IPONUL A 104": I suoi componenti staccano lo strato monomolecolare di iposolfito complesso adsorbito dall'emulsione che solo un lavaggio assai prolungato (2 - 3 ore) riuscirebbe ad asportare.
    Tr. Its components detach the monomolecular layer of complex hyposulphite adsorbed by the emulsion, that only a very prolonged wash [2 - 3 hours] could remove.

    The wording suggests that washing for 2 or 3 hours is not so useless as it might appear.

    Fabrizio

    PS I suppose this only applies to paper washing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2011
  7. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    You are mis-informed. Water tables are not finite with our pumping over-reaching long term replentishment. You will see this in the news more and more... National Geographic did a story on it a decade ago.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    re-fixing and rewashing prints and films
    that may have been damaged because of
    poor fixing and poor washing doesn't remedy the problems
    that occur because of poor fixing and poor washing.
    conservationists ( photographic conservationists that is )
    would cringe at that suggestion ... i think a far more detrimental
    effect of photography is that since 1839 most people who have practiced photography
    have just poured their chemistry ( cyanide, mercury, uranium, silver, selenium &C ) down the drain
    or into the creek, or in the gutter &C without a second thought.
    i think that fixing and washing film and paper seems to be less of an issue ..
    besides using a product like perma wash or fixer remover greatly reduces washing times ( 5 minues for fb paper, 2 mins for films ) ...
     
  9. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Ian

    Please share your numbers for developer, fixer and all others. Or, are you exclusively talking about developer?
     
  10. dng88

    dng88 Member

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    I am on Ralph about rotation saving chemicals.

    But for print development, washing etc., can you use rotation method mainly? Sorry I thought you use rotation only for large print development. For small print development, reusing the tray is ok? Also, for washing of any print size, you have to use immerse and water flow method and rotation method is not ok?

    Bad concept and assumption of mine?
     
  11. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I didn't mean to start another debate, I just mean don't take your work and yourself too seriously. I practice good and trusted methods, I have just run into too many people that take it over the edge, again in the early days when I really don't think much of their work is worth saving.
    I doubt even Ansel's archival methods back in the day were up to the recommendations of modern day darkroom dillitantes.
     
  12. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

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    Where a lowering of the water table is observed, there there is a water problem. Not everywhere is this observed. You shouldn't generalize about TV documentaries you see. I've seen a lot of material about "desertification" of land (a different but related problem), but I can swear there is no desertification problem in Rome, to make an example.

    I don't say you have to waste water. I say that in many places water is just abundant and gives no scarcity issues. If you "waste" clean water, you are at least not sending polluted water to the environment.
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I advocate rotation processing for film and tray processing for prints. I also recommend HCA for both and a 10-minute wash for film and 30 minutes for FB prints, or better yet, a proper washing test for both. I have tested a modified Ilford Washing Test for film and prints (3-6 cycles for film and 12 cycles for prints of 6-minute soaks each), and it works well, but it is too laborious for my taste. Also, cascade washing is a good option for prints.

    We all should be careful with the resources given to us. As someone smarter than I said: We've only been given this planet to take care of it for our children. But preserving our memories and pictures, so that future generations know who they are and where they come from, is also part of what makes us human.

    Using HCA cuts down on water usage, rotation processing (and replenishment) cuts down on chemical usage. Being selective with chemicals and disposing of them properly cuts down on chemical hazards. That's doing our part and I see no reason to feel guilty after being reasonable and acting responsible. If one wants to do more: skip a car wash here or there, and stop watering the grass; it comes back by itself and survived for the last few million years without our watering help. We all make our choices.
     
  14. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I fully agree, wasteful use of water is, well, wasteful and unnecessary. But, I would believe for most of us, the amount of water we use for our photographic hobby is small compared to what we consume on daily basis. For chemical usage also, many of us dump far more damaging "stuff" down the drain than photographic chemicals. Drain cleaners, lawn chemicals, and pharmaceuticals all end up in our waste water system. I believe the fact pharmaceuticals showing up in drinking water IS a documented and known problem.

    One problem I have with many of those otherwise well intentioned "save-whatever movement" is that they tend to take a small portion of a big problem and make it as if we could significantly alter the cause. While every little bit helps, whole a lot will help a lot more. Rather than reducing my wash time for film, I started taking shorter (but still reasonable) showers. After all, film wash is trickle but shower head is usually on full blast.

    That's my approach....
     
  15. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    Ahhhhy... As if I take long showers. I drive a somewhat old and dirty car.

    I just don't think many of our efforts are going to stand any test of time. I am sure most of my negatives and prints will be in a trash heap in 100 years IF society makes it that much farther.

    Also to my Italian friend... plenty of water or not, it takes diesel, or nuclear power to run the pump to get the water.
    I am done with this...
     
  16. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    Everyone go read Ayn Rand's Anthem on a Kindle or at your favorite used book store.
     
  17. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I just came across an article on image stabilization, which might be of interest to some:

    Potassium thiocyanate was used as the active ingredient in a 1949 patent (British) as a stabilizer for rapid processing. At the time that meant: Images of reasonable permanance without fixing and washing! Apparently, it was meant for cases in which speed was more important than archival quality. This was first tried in 1893 by A. Bogisch (German), but he used an acidic thiourea. Today, we find potassium thiocyanate as an image-silver stabilizer in Sistan.
     
  18. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Image stabilization does save time and much wash water when used for temporary prints. The prints must still be fixed and washed for permanance, negating any water savings. Also, stabilization denies the printer of some enhancements available in traditional developing. In the early 1970s I used stabilization processing when a traditional darkroom was not readily available. A few unfixed prints from that time still have a fair image; others have hopelessly faded. A traditional darkroom was certainly worth the extra work.