I never thought that my activities as an amateur photographer had an impact on the environment. In a casual talk with my daughter, Sruti Harihara Subramanian, founder of Golisodastore.com she emphasized that every activity leaves impact the environment. Our duty is to keep it to the minimum.
As an amateur photographer from the film era, I shudder to think of the environmental damage a small film processing unit would have brought about with the all its toxic chemicals. There was a miniscule recovery industry trying to salvage milligrams of silver form the negatives. This is one of the reasons why we lost some of the early movie negatives.
In the pre electronic flash era, we had single use flash bulbs and cubes which were discarded after every frame.
We were then, blissfully unaware of the damages we were causing.
Thankfully, we have moved to a digital age with lesser use of toxic chemicals and materials. However, the astronomical growth of photography has its impact on consumption of material and energy and leaves behind a huge carbon footprint and e-waste.
I am happy that environmental awareness is increasing in the industry. The proof of this is a Special Green Issue of the Amateur Photographer (June 6, 2020) with a feature “How to be Greener – How Photographers can reduce Carbon Footprint”.
With an array of new gear being introduced regularly with improved features there is a natural tendency among photographers for GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). This could lead to large carbon footprint by way of manufacture and disposal. Thankfully, many professional photographers go for trading-in or ‘rescuing’ their old gear instead of blind upgrade.
In this context, my policy of ‘essential gear only’ (imposed partly by budget constraints) seems to be an eco-friendly practice.
I am also happy to learn from the above mentioned magazine that many professionals while ordering props, albums, clothing etc. for shoots are looking for eco-friendly options. Hope this trend catches up.