I was thinking about how the digital revolution in photography has impacted our world on a sustainable point of view. There are two things in particular that I have thought about. The first is, a sustainable business in photography today. With cameras that come out every 6 months that level the field "technically". Less and less technical skill is needed to achieve a decent level of photography resulting in a flood of mediocre photographic images. ""Good enough" has become the standard. Ironically, I think that is the key to standing out today. It is easier to stand out among the flood today, than say 10 years ago when you had to be a fantastic photographer to stand out. If you can bring a higher level of vision and creativity to your photographs today then your work will be a stark contrast to the ordinary stuff out there.
Patio Fireplace at the Renaissance Orlando at SearWorld Nikon F4, Tokina 24-70, Kodak E200
The other part of the sustainability thing is what happens to all the gear every time you have to upgrade to the next best camera? Where do all the raw materials come from when new gear is made at such a rapid pace? And how much money really needs to be spent on upgrading a camera that could have otherwise been put to a better use like feeding or clothing someone? I mean $4,000 - $8,000 or more every year or two on camera bodies? Wow, that's a lot. Remember about the standing out above the sea of ordinary photographs? The camera won't make you stand out, it's your vision and creativity, not the camera. Don't fall into the upgrade trap if you can avoid it. Rent gear if you must, but you don't always have to buy that gear because you think it will give you the edge. Your creativity will give you the edge. Shoot with a Holga, if it fits your creativity, and you get the upgrade with what you put in the camera... the film. Film technology is fantastic and is an affordable upgrade, environmentally, and economically. Some would say that film is not a green tech, but I beg to differ. It has been around for over a 100 years and we are doing just fine with it. I mean, the plastic is what we want to keep right? And it doesn’t take a battery to keep the image on some device once it’s taken, it’s just there..
Think about this. A Hasselblad H3 or H4 system costs up to $30,000 or an H1 system for $1,200 (that stays out of a land fill and not producing a new H3/4). That leaves enough money left over to buy 8,500+ rolls of the latest greatest, highest tech film around. That's a heck of a lot of film, and the greatest thing is, you only pay for the film when you use it. Not in one big chunk. Creative imagery + using film = sustainable photography.