In your statement, It got me thinking about it in both an environmental point of view and in the "digital race" to keep up with the latest gear at what seems to be a ridicules cost.
Lets put this in respect film vs digital race. Think of how many people, in the USA, actually shoots film and then how many of them develop their film, as compare to those using digital items. We're not just talking cameras but cell phones and toys.
Now think how many of them use just one item that they all have in common, the battery.
Google number of batteries sold in a year. Try 15 billion in the USA each year. How many do you think end up in landfills. Check this site (http://earth911.com/news/2008/10/20/...atteries-live/).
From their site: When the lifespan of a disposable battery runs out, it should never find its new life in a landfill. It is estimated that batteries account for 88 percent of all mercury and 54 percent of all cadmium deposited into landfills. These heavy metals can seep into the soil and groundwater or be released through the air, which is hazardous to human health.
The digital stuff is sustainable for as long as there are fools wishing to part with their money for the newest, greatest, fastest, most technologically advanced camera that does everything so much better than the model released 7 months previously (nobody mentions in the fine print that the user must still press the shutter button to make something happen...). I've long since given up on arguing the point over how and why this silly travesty results in continuously dissatisfied consumers (rather than professionals) who think the camera is not doing enough or doing something correctly. The fault is with the user, not the camera. Coming as I do from a traditional education in photography (the Arts) and long interest, one thing sticks out glaringly: a profound lack of education. A solid education in photography would have seen the majority of people staying with film, using cameras 10, 20 30, 40 years old (+++ for many formats). Quite separate from all this is my continuing offence that traditional art should be usurped by a box of binary bits. Ha! It was fantasy stuff in uni days, now the horror is real.
What happens to old digis traded in and nobody wants? Do they end up as landfill? Who recycles them, if at all? Now, what happens to old film cameras? People buy them! People use them, too. Those "backward, romantic farts of film" produce beautiful work run off 35mm, 120, 5x4 and even make serious money from it. My personal view is that the manufacturers have lost the plot as much as the consumer. They're not even half as helpful as they once were.
Last edited by Poisson Du Jour; 05-18-2010 at 06:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.
.::Gary Rowan Higgins
One beautiful image is worth
a thousand hours of therapy.
"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government
to save the environment."
The issue of "sustainability" that this thread discusses is a tempest in a teapot; an opportunity to disrespect our digital shooting fellow photographers. There is no objectivity here, although there is a lot of subjectivity, bias, religion, mythology, and emotion, and that is sad. Oh, and fear too. Fear that there is another medium that can be used to make awesome art: Just Like Film, but with a different look.
As to damage to the environment, both film and digital photography are very dirty and damaging to the environment. The Pot should not call the Kettle Black!
Too often film shooters WRONGLY assume that most or all digital shooters are those that buy the latest and greatest DSLR every 10 days, in order to "keep up". This of course is not true. What they don't understand is that digital technology is evolving and it is still in the early days. Just look at the Canon EOS SLR film system....in 20 years of making film bodies, Canon has created over 40 different film SLR models world wide!
I love, and respect all mediums that can be used to make awesome art. To think otherwise is to commit intellectual fraud. You will find gear heads that shoot film and digital. You will find those that continually chase the latest and greatest shooting both mediums.
What do you say we just live and let live...
Last edited by SilverGlow; 05-18-2010 at 07:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Coming back home to my film roots. Canon EOS-3 SLR, Canon EOS 1V SLR, 580ex flash, and 5D DSLR shooter. Prime lens only shooter.
I was bothered for many years by the constant upgrading inherent to digital photography, at least in its early days. Then there was the leica "modul r" that seemed a perfect solution: you'd just detach the digital part and swap it out for the next best one, a few years later. Or shoot film whenever you wanted. Genius! Well... it was quite promptly discontinued; the upfront cost was too much for most consumers and there's just not much profit to be made that way.
Upgrading has been the core marketing principle of digital photography. If I had a buck for every time I read some column claiming that this one was the one to equal film... and then a few months later, no, this is the one... etc ad nauseam. Meanwhile people thought 12 mp is twice as good as 6 :rolleyes: Now that is unsustainable. Indeed, things have improved in dslr land now, but the marketing principle is still based on higher and higher pixel counts and more gadgetry. (Incidentally, I am not fervently anti-digital, I do have one that I consider to be very nice for several things and it is one of the very few digital bodies that I think is actually built to last, but... it really only handles some of my 35mm needs)
Anyway, this whole notion of sustainability in the "built" economy has become an irritant to me. As far as I know, no electronics product... *none!*... is fully recyclable. Not even close. (n.b. I have several wooden cameras that are 100% recyclable ) What if we actually factored remediation costs into the prices of our electronica? What would the prices be then? What if your CFL bulb cost $100 instead of $5? (And, to be fair: what if you had to return the silver from your fixer or pay a fine or higher price on the next purchase? Not so hard to implement, actually...)
Until people start computing the actual, upfront consumer cost of sustainability, it's hard for me to take it seriously. I like the idea(l) of course, but, we have to run the real numbers.
Last edited by keithwms; 05-18-2010 at 07:43 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I figure that film photography and digital photography are both harmful to the environment in various way. I do not know which one would be the worse offender but I think it would be wrong to not consider our own responsibility to the environment. We all can be more vigilant in our goal of photography and environmental responsibility.
As far as the digital upgrade thing I am not sure why folks complain about it. Outside of the gearheads out there people generally buy a camera and use it until it is finished. Those that upgrade their gear are not throwing their $1500.00 camera in a lake. They sell it to somebody that is happy to have it. I see no reason to make comments about those that shoot digital as they are just photographers using modern gear. It is gear that blends well with the modern world, the computer and the internet. Of course in this forum you are not likely to find folks that make comments about film users. Shooting film or digital I believe we are all trying to achieve the same thing and that is great pictures.
The digital shooter does not have much to worry about as new products and services are going to be happening. The sustainablility of film however is a crap shoot. Unfortunately Options are becoming more and more limited every year. Labs are closing, films are being discontinued and the availability of camera's is thinning as they approach decades in age.
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you detailed just the tip of the iceberg so well
and as i alluded to earlier, photography companies and photographers
have been making nasty waste since before 1840.
btw. you mentioned chicken guano ... it isn't bad,
but a prized fertilizer, as most guano tends to be.
so i am sure the albumen-companies were making money hand over fist.
there are plenty of harsh, and harshly mined materials
that go into photo-stuff ... or went into photo-chems, films, papers
... before being outlawed.
that doesn't even take into account the other end ...
like those bozos in the mini lab industry
who dumped millions of gallons of waste into rivers or people
like the guy on the lfinfo site a while ago whose boss wanted him
to "dump pallets of seeping chemistry". all too often it is out of site/sight, out of mind
i didn't mean to "pick on" wet platers, you don't need to absolve their
collective guilt on account of me ... i am sure modern wet platers
know what they are working with, and how to treat their
chemistry with respect, i know the ones i met and watched did ...
i could have just as easily have said people who use selenium toner
or some other material that is used often and the wash water goes down the drain...
I was picking albumen printing as an example because the volume of it is quantifiable and the scope is meaningful to people.
Chicken guano may make good fertilizer in small quantities, but in that kind of volume it wreaks all kinds of havoc on the watershed downstream from it. Actually, that's true of just about all fertilizers, organic or otherwise. Just ask the folks on the Eastern Shore of Maryland / in Delaware, where Perdue has chicken ranches. The phosphates and nitrates (I think those are the bad boys) are just so intense from that much chicken waste that it actually harms the soil where it accumulates (you'll know what I mean if you ever over-fertilized a lawn - you burn the lawn and where you spilled the fertilizer, nothing will grow for a year or more), and it gets into the runoff rainwater and ground water and causes algae blooms in the streams and the shallow margins of the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware Bay, which kill off the fish and shellfish that the watermen depend on to make a living. And it can also get some rather nasty bacteria (e.coli among others) into the water supply. Although, as bad as chickens can be, I think the waste from pig farms is much worse. If you want to convert a pig farm back into something else, you almost need to get an EPA Superfund grant to clean it up, and NOBODY wants to live downwind from a pig farm.
Being also a digital user, I dont rush out and do the whole 'buy more shit' thing, Im still on the 30D, I merely want to upgrade for a bigger frame and video/cinematic capabilities, I've been using the same batteries for my 30D for the past 2 and a half years, only 1 is genuine canon, the others came from HK/China
I'm also using old lenses, my only new autofocussing lens is the Sigma 12-24mm because there is simply no competitor and nothing else like it, works well for 35mm film @ 12mm as well