Analog & digital photography and our environment
After watching the documentary, "Manufactured Landscapes" by Edward Burtynsky and seeing all his work on the changing landscapes around us by industrialization, I do have a couple of thoughts in regards to analog versus digital photography in environmental-friendliness.
Mind you, this isn't a analog is better than digital or vice versa post, but I've been hearing for close to a decade now on how environmentally-unfriendly the chemicals used by the film manufacturing and development industry. But has anyone thought about how environmentally-unfriendly digital photography is? The chips inside every digital camera aren't biodegradable, and since companies like Canon and Nikon releases practically a new DSLR or P&S every 6 to 12 months and digital photographers jump at the newest digital offering, there's going to be an almost unlimited supply of "e-waste" coming from the digital photography revolution. The same thing goes for things like ipods, cellular phones, laptops, big screen plasma/LCD TVs, etc.
I've never been much of an environmental person, but after watching documentaries like War Photographer where James Nachtwey documents children in Indonesia picking through mountains of garbage, or watching the residents of a small town in China not being able to get safe drinking water due to the high levels of heavy metal from old computer parts in Manufactured Landscapes, I think I'm going to start doing my part for the environment.
I think that we humans are probably going to be the epitome of a species soiling their nest.
I use completly mechanical cameras to last me a long time and take special care with water waste, so I don't print FB.
Furthermore, the enlarger wastes a lot less energy than my computer workstation.
If you are careful with chemical disposal and water waste (which it seems our privileged brothers and sisters care little about), you are set.
Now if you could get the enlarger running with solar power...
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
I don't think it is fair to blame digital cameras/photography alone for the growng eWaste mountain. It is the entire silicon chip age, from washing machines to computers, which is the root cause. eWaste is becoming an enormous problem around the world, but it affects the poorest most, as they are most likely to end up breaking the waste down and being exposed to the toxins released.
eWaste Dump Of The World
eWaste Dump Of The World 2
Last edited by Andy K; 07-25-2007 at 05:06 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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The Burtynsky DVD is excellent. I think his message is that preservation alone will not reduce the human impact on the landscape. We need to think about our waste. To me, digital cameras are bad because they are not upgradeable in their present configuration. They are no better than laptops, cell phones and other throw away items. Intentionally poor design by short-sighted manufacturers; but the ultimate culprit is the consumer (including those amongst us who adopt digital photography).
Send your digital junk to Germany. Here we like to recycle anything.
Not anything actually. Still no service for diapers. Those have to be sent to the Netherlands.
(Strange enough here it is still allowed to drain photo-lab waste... Though you are encouraged not to do.)
My local midwestern US county has two electronics recycling drop off days per year on Saturdays. They also have a 1 for 1 mercury for digital thermometer trade in program that's available 6 days a week. I can also easily recycle fluorescent lamps properly so that the mercury in them is recovered. Digital cameras can go into the electronics recycling drop off.
Originally Posted by Lee L
What happens to the ewaste you drop off? Is it recycled on site or shipped out?
Recycled. They sort it on site and have a couple of different drop off points at the collection site, depending on the materials. I usually have to stop at two points in the collection site.
Originally Posted by Andy K
And I just checked to find out that they are now up to four dates per year for electronics recycling.
Last edited by Lee L; 07-25-2007 at 08:19 AM. Click to view previous post history.