Our art effects the environment, what to do?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Tom Ruszel, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. Tom Ruszel

    Tom Ruszel TPF Noob!

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    It seems that a lot of the photographers have quite a lot of respect for the environment and the effects that we (photographers) are having on it. For those of us who are nature photographers, it is especially interesting when you consider that your process may harm your subject.

    Here are my questions:
    With what is known about the negative environmental effects of photography, how must we act to protect it? Even those who have all their work done at a lab have this responsibility, (since there are chemicals involved one way or another) so what are we to do?

    Secondly, does the reward outway the risk? it it reasonable to give up the art in order to protect the environment? What about switching to full digital?
    I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say about this. Thanks
     
  2. photoboy15

    photoboy15 TPF Noob!

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    When I develop myself I save my fixer and turn it into a company that will pull the unused silver out of it and reuse it. The problem with thinking that we are just creating a negative environment through photography can be said for anything we do. You typing on the computer right now is negative for the environment. The electricity from power plants the raw materials that are harvested to make it and then eventually ending up in a landfill. About the only thing you can do that is not negative for the environment is lay in our front yards until we pass and became fertilizer. Oh yea, don't forget to take out the filling, screws, stint and other thing in our body that could hurt the environment.

    Over dramatic sarcasm seems to make a point.
     
  3. Tom Ruszel

    Tom Ruszel TPF Noob!

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    true, everything we do has negative effects somewhere. If we agree on that, the next step is to reduce doing these harmful things and it seems logical to start by axing things that aren't manditory for human existance. If I stopped making photographs today, I would surely still go on living. Is photography important enough to continue hurting ecosystems with?
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Since that very first day we banged two rocks together we started affecting our environment.
    It's all a matter of degree.
    Making one motor car pollutes 3 Olympic sized swimming baths full of water. So give up your car.
    Or we could all go naked and live in the woods on nuts and berries.
    As humans everything we do has consequences - we just need to all accept the consequences of our actions. As long as we as consumers prefer to not be a part of the process manufacturers will continue to follow the cheapest option. Which means pollution.
    It is entirely possible to manage pollution and reduce it to a minimum - it's just that it is expensive and as consumers we prefer cheap and as shareholders we want profit.
     
  5. photoboy15

    photoboy15 TPF Noob!

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    Easy enough answer. You could not see the devastation that we have caused the environment if someone hadn't taken a picture of it. And if that is the case then you wouldn't care if there hadn't been a picture taken.

    the next step is to reduce doing these harmful things and it seems logical to start by axing things that aren't mandatory for human existence.

    Who determines what is needed for mandatory for human existence. Can we have jobs, can we watch TV, do we have a government? Would human existence be worth is if you cant do the things you enjoy. Having watched Survivor on TV last night I see no need for life, if that is what it would be like, and that is my opinion. People live a life like that and love it. I enjoy my life and the things I do, so while I will try to help the environment I will not sacrifice my livelihood by reduce doing these harmful things and it seems logical to start by axing things that aren't mandatory for human existence.

    PS You just hurt the environment by posting again.
     
  6. tmpadmin

    tmpadmin TPF Noob!

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    As stated, everything we do has an impact. If you pass gas you are adding to the depletion of the ozone layer. If you use a computer, you are further polluting the air - and so on it goes. We as "environmentally friendly" humans need to find a balance. Recycle your film canisters, take your negatives to labs that do their best to properly dispose of the chemicals. Even going fully digital is not the answer for a completely nonpolluting process. I guess the best we can do is find some berries, clay, carbon (do not start) and paint on cave walls. You see even that process has a negative impact in some extreme way.

    But more to the point here. I, having graduated with an environmental science degree, and photography minor and philosophy, find it quite arrogant to think we can change the world. Our rock survived far greater adversaries than humans, and will shrug off our impact as we shrug off a fly. Our actions will not kill this planet, we may decrease our numbers or wipe out other species but the world will continue – with our without us – with our without our film canisters. Nature has a way of adapting and throughout natural history, species become stronger when the environment changes – or die off because they are weak and could not adapt. So are we doing a disservice to this planet by not encouraging the strongest to survive? - Just a random thought.

    This is not to say we should go back to the 70’s and before, where the mind set was to just dump everything. I believe we have made great progress. For me living in the jungle would be all I needed if it were not for the family life I choose.
     
  7. zedin

    zedin TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Like others have stated we should by no means quit photographing nature but use ways that are less harmful (and always try to find new ways that work even better). If it wasn't for photography and video do you think the environmental movement would be where it is today? Through documenting the wonders of nature and having a media you can distribute to the common folks who would never otherwise see it you help make folks aware what is out there and why we need to take care of it.
     
  8. Tom Ruszel

    Tom Ruszel TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your responses everyone. Photoboy, I don't mean to be upsetting you, I'm just attempting to play the devil's advocate. Believe me, I'm not giving up my craft anytime soon. I simply want to generate some discussion on the subject, which is what it looks like has happened.

    anyone else?
     
  9. tmpadmin

    tmpadmin TPF Noob!

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    Why do WE need to take care of nature? It seems to have done well on its own for billions of years before we got here. Maybe I am getting off topic a bit (need to keep this to photography). So, I do see your point of the photographer or videographer playing a major role in the awareness of the beauty of nature.
     
  10. zedin

    zedin TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Because unlike others in the past we really have the means to turn our planet into a wasteland =p

    Also there are many beautiful places that have been defaced/destroyed by people out for a quick buck or just lacking the foresite to see how their actions may effect the future.
     
  11. panzershreck

    panzershreck TPF Noob!

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    take a picture of that ;)

    it's tough to make decisions like that in the modern world, almost everything produces a waste nowadays... removing my camera wouldn't make a dent in the waste i produce regardless of personal expenditure...

    that said, we can always revert back to 2000 year old art techniques and sculptures for our "visual image" fix

    or learn the techniques of those courtroom sketchers, though they produce waste too
     
  12. photoboy15

    photoboy15 TPF Noob!

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    You are not upsetting me at all. I love a good debate and I'm usually the one upsetting people by my over sarcasm. I just over exaggerate points of hypocrisy. You know like the Green Peace Rainbow Warrior ship that pollutes more than the Exxon Valdez. OK well not that bad but you get my drift.
     

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