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Photo shoots bad for environment?

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Interesting article. It doesn't mention the masses of paper wasted on printing all the vacuous (IMO) glossy fashion magazines that flood newsstands. But I guess that's understandable. My "photo shoots" -- such as they are -- are already quite environmentally friendly. They usually involve walking, busing, or a short drive in my gas-sipping little car (wish I could afford an electric one). I only fly once or twice a year.

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This article in English Vogue about their Christmas plans indicates how they're dealing with austerity:

 

https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/where-the-vogue-editors-are-spending-christmas

 

I'd be prepared to trim my team of assistants down to single figures if it would make a difference.

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I see the deputy editor took a sailing yacht to her Christmas holiday in the Cayman Islands.....not.

Well, I'll see your free edition of Vogue and raise you a return flight to Wellington..... and we had a missed approach so you can add a Wellington-Auckland return to that as well.

 

 

 

Edited by spacecadet

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Human activity is bad for the environment… not to mention the printing of Vogue…

Well, either they are really concerned about it and all of their future publications will be photo-free (let's see that 🤣), or it is just marketing B***S*** intended to have people talking about them just as we are now.

What's your guess?

 

 

Edited by Olivier Parent
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59 minutes ago, Olivier Parent said:

Human activity is bad for the environment… not to mention the printing of Vogue…

Well, either they are really concerned about it and all of their future publications will be photo-free (let's see that 🤣), or it is just marketing B***S*** intended to have people talking about them just as we are now.

What's your guess?

 

 

 

I'll go with marketing B.S.

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Photography is bad for the environment? ...well, who would be supporting the WWF or other organizations doing good work to help counteract the climate crisis if people like us weren't out there photographing those cute little polar bears floating on broken ice shards, or those devastating fires in Australia, to name just a few instances of how photography is so important to the environment. And how did those artists draw the clothes - they must have either been shipped to them or, were they sent photographs? Talk about irony. 

 

Why have professional photographers been singled out as the bad guys? It was bad enough when British Vogue paid about $14 for one of my images used  1/4 page, around the same time as Smithsonian was paying me $300. Sad to see. And I have to say, I didn't think much of the illustrations, though at least artists were getting work. But paint running down the drain after clean up (not to mention turpentine - does anyone use oils anymore?) can't be very good for our ground water. 

 

Yes, I vote for marketing B.S. 

Edited by Marianne
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This would be a perfect topic for the "Irony" competition currrently running in this forum.

 

Alan

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Human activity is PART of the environment.  We are not some unnatural external introduction (unless you want do discuss the "Were humans put here by Aliens" theory) but a fully natural development.  Yes even our manipulations of chemicals and stuff.  We are not able to actuallly replicate a lot of things other species do - silk for instance.  The fact we do with brains and hands and they do it internally is besides the point.  We are natural.  Whilst everyone is running around getting hysterical and behaving as though we are somehow separate from nature the chances of getting a grip on any issue is about zero. 

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I can see how a photoshoot like this one could be considered bad for the environment.  nearly 100 experts flown in from around the world (plus the people making the video), trampling all over the forest, equipment, electricity generators, batteries... all take it's toll. https://fstoppers.com/bts/behind-scenes-photo-shoot-benedict-cumberbatch-vanity-fair-58919  (pretty pictures though).

 

If photography is done respectfully, then it can benefit the environment by helping people be aware of it's fragile beauty.  The key word there is "respectfully".

 

...

 

Story time

 

Near where I live there is an endangered plant.  From the limited scientific studies done, this plant has some amazing healing qualities that could transform modern medicine.  The problem is, the plant is fragile and resists propagation and attempting to move it is the fastest way to kill it.  

 

There are only three examples of this plant known to exist in the world.  One of the three was recently discovered right next to the trail in a very popular park.  They don't tell anyone about it for fear of poaching, but they did put a fence up and signs telling people to stay on the path.  Of course, people like taking photos of big trees and climb over the fence to get the shot - trampling the plant.  If it wasn't for this abuse, the plant would have created seeds by now that could be propagated to make more.  

 

There's a reason why the parks want you to stay on the path.  Unless you really know your plants, you can do some serious harm with a misplaced footstep.  

Edited by CrowingHen
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32 minutes ago, CrowingHen said:

I can see how a photoshoot like this one could be considered bad for the environment

Thanks for the link, you really couldn't make it up.

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2 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

Human activity is PART of the environment.  We are not some unnatural external introduction (unless you want do discuss the "Were humans put here by Aliens" theory) but a fully natural development.  Yes even our manipulations of chemicals and stuff.  We are not able to actuallly replicate a lot of things other species do - silk for instance.  The fact we do with brains and hands and they do it internally is besides the point.  We are natural.  Whilst everyone is running around getting hysterical and behaving as though we are somehow separate from nature the chances of getting a grip on any issue is about zero. 

 

Sorry but i absolutely don't understand your answer. Are you actually comparing the environmental impact of 7.8 billion people using smartphones and driving 4WD with the environmental impact of silkworms? Are you considering the Exxon Valdez oil spill or the bombing of Hiroshima to be some kind of "fully natural development"? The fact that we are natural is absolutely irrelevant, it does not change anything to our impact on the ecosystems and the environment in general. If our sun were to explode in a completely natural way, it would still have a disastrous impact on our environment, don't you think?

Edited by Olivier Parent
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16 minutes ago, Olivier Parent said:

 

Sorry but i absolutely don't understand your answer. Are you actually comparing the environmental impact of 7.8 billion people using smartphones and driving 4WD with the environmental impact of silkworms? Are you considering the Exxon Valdez oil spill or the bombing of Hiroshima to be some kind of "fully natural development"? The fact that we are natural is absolutely irrelevant, it does not change anything to our impact on the ecosystems and the environment in general. If our sun were to explode in a completely natural way, it would still have a disastrous impact on our environment, don't you think?

No I am saying we are not an environmental disaster.  Or that "environment disaster" is a null term if you prefer.  "Environmental disaster" is this generations "god is angry" - its way of making life human centric - everything is about the humans.   Nature is quite a bit bigger than that - and rather less caring.  Can we moderate our behaviour?  Probably.  Should we moderate our behaviour? Possibly?  Are we the most evil baddest worst most significant awful thing ever?  Uh no.  Not even close.  Would the planet be a better place if our species was wiped out?  If wiping out this species would be good why is it bad to wipe out any other species?  Would the planet be better off if we actually all met the proposed targets on everything that would basically result in huge numbers dying, 95% of the rest being reduced to total poverty and 5% being wonderful enough and special enough and deserving enough to claim the small island of comfort tens of thousands of years of technology have made possible - not on your nelly.

 

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I'll vote for marketing B.S. (and irony). However, I'm willing to give Vogue some marks for at least fessing up to some of its wasteful practices.

 

I've never felt totally comfortable with the term "environmentalism". It suggests that nature is something "out there" that we aren't a part of. In reality, when we damage nature, we are hurting ourselves.

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I come from an eco-background.  One of the things that impressed me about photography is just how eco the people are here.

 

Looking at the technology, it has enough ecological impact to earn the wrath of eco-activists (which I don't consider myself part of for the record).  But looking at the photographers, you can see in any "what equipment should I buy" thread, that people are encouraged to think long term about their investment.  This isn't a smart phone - buy and replace in 2 years, or the new technology trend of buy and brick when it's time to upgrade.  Professional photographers (and hobbyests like myself) choose to put their money towards cameras with longer life and good reputation for repair.  When it comes time to upgrade, one doesn't have to throw away every accessory (lens and filter), these stay compatible for years and there are adapters to keep them useful long after the system they were built for goes out of production.  Photographers want to get the most use of their equipment.  When it's time for someone to change systems, they can sell the used equipment for enough money to make it worth keeping out of the landfill.  

 

There are very few areas with such a strong eco-friendly attitude.  What makes it even better is that it doesn't look eco.  It's not greenwashed... except for the green of money because what makes financial sense in photography is also accidentally eco.  

 

I suspect most people here are probably doing more to help the environment with their photography than they know.  Although, there are some actions that are maybe less helpful to the environment - like going off trail in a park - but on the whole, I dislike the idea of tarring all of photography because a few money-bags photo-shoots are bad for the environment.  

 

...

 

I suspect flying experts in from all over the world for a massive photo shoot is expensive.  Flight shaming is an up and coming trend (and maybe worth taking photo of if anyone is into that kind of shoot).  Their wallets are hurting, their getting angry loud people who like to complain about companies because it's easier to complain on twitter than making changes in their own world.  

 

I could see the future of magazines is to have smaller shoots (maybe 20 people) and use local talent and resources.  

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23 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

I'll vote for marketing B.S. (and irony). However, I'm willing to give Vogue some marks for at least fessing up to some of its wasteful practices.

 

I've never felt totally comfortable with the term "environmentalism". It suggests that nature is something "out there" that we aren't a part of. In reality, when we damage nature, we are hurting ourselves.

 

The hurt we are inflicting on ourselves is nothing compared to the hurt we are inflicting on other species, not to mention our human descendants. But it is human nature to ignore problems until they hit us in the face. Wait till sea level rise really starts to become evident and affect and eventually overwhelm most of the world's major cities and vast tracts of land. And that is only one aspect of the global warming climate crisis which did not start in 2019 - more like in 1819 as the Industrial Revolution really started to take hold.

 

The Vogue article can be well described as green-washing - the fashion world has enormous environmental impacts.

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

The hurt we are inflicting on ourselves is nothing compared to the hurt we are inflicting on other species, not to mention our human descendants. But it is human nature to ignore problems until they hit us in the face. Wait till sea level rise really starts to become evident and affect and eventually overwhelm most of the world's major cities and vast tracts of land. And that is only one aspect of the global warming climate crisis which did not start in 2019 - more like in 1819 as the Industrial Revolution really started to take hold.

 

The Vogue article can be well described as green-washing - the fashion world has enormous environmental impacts.

 

 

 

 

Sure, when we hurt other species we are hurting ourselves as well.

 

Yes, I'd call the Vogue article green-washing. But perhaps it's better than no green-washing at all -- i.e. a glimmer of self-awareness is better than none at all.

Edited by John Mitchell

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4 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Sure, when we hurt other species we are hurting ourselves as well.

 

Yes, I'd call the Vogue article green-washing. But perhaps it's better than no green-washing at all -- i.e. a glimmer of self-awareness is better than none at all.

 

But the idea of green-washing is to conceal the real damage that is being done by other activities. I can't quantify it but I would surmise that the environmental impacts of the global fashion industry is billions of times that of the photographic industry. I hope somebody qualified with the numbers calls them out on this. 

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7 minutes ago, MDM said:

I hope somebody qualified with the numbers calls them out on this. 

 

The book, The Carbon Farming Solution has some good numbers about the source of materials.  One thing I thought was scary, is that agriculture is one of if not the biggest (depending on how the numbers are crunched - the book goes into this) sources of CO in the atmosphere - and over half of that is for textile production.  This doesn't include transportation (the raw materials can go to 5 or more countries before reaching the consumer), dyes, labour issues, and synthetics (a much larger percentage of textiles than natural ones).  

 

As for actual numbers on the actual fashion industry, these are very difficult to find.  There are a few books that go into the fashion end of things, but even these authors had trouble sourcing the raw data due to industrial secrets.  

 

Tackling these eco-issues is difficult.  One step at a time make the journey easier.  This is their first step to admitting that they made a mistake in the past and are doing something to improve it.  It's not their biggest mistake, but if people respond well to this admission, then they can start repairing other mistakes like the impact of their industry.  

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2 minutes ago, CrowingHen said:

 

The book, The Carbon Farming Solution has some good numbers about the source of materials.  One thing I thought was scary, is that agriculture is one of if not the biggest (depending on how the numbers are crunched - the book goes into this) sources of CO in the atmosphere - and over half of that is for textile production.  This doesn't include transportation (the raw materials can go to 5 or more countries before reaching the consumer), dyes, labour issues, and synthetics (a much larger percentage of textiles than natural ones).  

 

As for actual numbers on the actual fashion industry, these are very difficult to find.  There are a few books that go into the fashion end of things, but even these authors had trouble sourcing the raw data due to industrial secrets.  

 

Tackling these eco-issues is difficult.  One step at a time make the journey easier.  This is their first step to admitting that they made a mistake in the past and are doing something to improve it.  It's not their biggest mistake, but if people respond well to this admission, then they can start repairing other mistakes like the impact of their industry.  

 

To be honest I am very pessimistic because I think it is already way too late. I used to be a professional Earth scientist and I became aware of these issues many years ago but climate change denial and pseudo science has led to major delays. Even then it may have been too late in the 1980s when human nature is factored into the equation. Global cooperation on an unimaginable scale is required but there is no chance of that really happening - the US pulling out of the Paris Agreement is just one instance of how impossible the situation is. So one step at a time is all very well but giant steps are required.

 

 

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We may be too late, but I don't see that as a reason to give up.

 

Looking at history and cultures that have faced natural climate change (mini ice age) and smaller examples of human-caused localized climate change, we can see that most societies died out with much suffering.  But there are examples of societies that made it.  Not only did they find ways to survive the ecological change long after 'too late' had come, some historic examples managed to reverse the damage (of the small, localized climate change) through drastic changes in social attitudes.  The book Just Enough talks about how Japan reversed their desastor in the Edo period and reversed their climate change.

 

So there is hope, but historical examples show it takes massive changes on every level, from government all the way to the individual.  History also shows that most societies don't manage it.  Unfortunately, history only shows us these smaller scale examples and doesn't have a president for what we are about to experience.  

 

But looking at Just Enough and the attitudes that changed in society, this harks back to what I said up-thread about photographers.  If people could approach clothing the way that photographers approach buying gear... then this would have a huge impact on reversing the 'too late' part of the equation.

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Pessimistic also, though at least the climate did figure in the manifestos of all the main political parties in the UK, I think that's a first. How much attention the government will pay to it now is anyone's guess. I did hear a generally climate change denying radio talk show host do a complete about turn thanks to viewing a news video of the enormous tragedy that is the Australian bush fires. He didn't seem to see any irony in the fact that he had waited literally until "the house is burning", as Greta Thunberg would put it.

 

I am in awe of the photographers and filmmakers risking their lives to bring this news to the outside world. Their pictures and films may do a great deal towards causing people to ask their governments to make changes on their behalf.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/09/reader-center/australia-wildfire-photo.html

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2 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

To be honest I am very pessimistic because I think it is already way too late. I used to be a professional Earth scientist and I became aware of these issues many years ago but climate change denial and pseudo science has led to major delays. Even then it may have been too late in the 1980s when human nature is factored into the equation. Global cooperation on an unimaginable scale is required but there is no chance of that really happening - the US pulling out of the Paris Agreement is just one instance of how impossible the situation is. So one step at a time is all very well but giant steps are required.

 

 

 

Giant steps are necessary in a lot of areas. Tragically, our current economic system based on mindless non-stop production and consumption is working against our survival on the planet. Concerned scientists like David Suzuki warned us about this a long time ago. As it is, every time the stock market goes up 10 points, the health of Earth goes down 20. I'm pessimistic but not totally so. I think we have the smarts to change things, but it's going to require a lot of waking up. I agree, the cavalier and isolationist attitude of the current US administration towards environmental challenges is highly worrying, especially if other nations start following suit.

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28 minutes ago, CrowingHen said:

We may be too late, but I don't see that as a reason to give up.

 

Looking at history and cultures that have faced natural climate change (mini ice age) and smaller examples of human-caused localized climate change, we can see that most societies died out with much suffering.  But there are examples of societies that made it.  Not only did they find ways to survive the ecological change long after 'too late' had come, some historic examples managed to reverse the damage (of the small, localized climate change) through drastic changes in social attitudes.  The book Just Enough talks about how Japan reversed their desastor in the Edo period and reversed their climate change.

 

So there is hope, but historical examples show it takes massive changes on every level, from government all the way to the individual.  History also shows that most societies don't manage it.  Unfortunately, history only shows us these smaller scale examples and doesn't have a president for what we are about to experience.  

 

But looking at Just Enough and the attitudes that changed in society, this harks back to what I said up-thread about photographers.  If people could approach clothing the way that photographers approach buying gear... then this would have a huge impact on reversing the 'too late' part of the equation.

 

When it comes to clothing consumption, attitudes are starting to change somewhat. However, the "shop until you drop" addiction fostered by the advertising and fashion worlds isn't going to go away any time soon. I'm frugal by nature, so I tend to wear my clothes until they fall apart. Also, I buy most of my camera equipment secondhand now. There are masses of it out there. One negative aspect of the digital revolution is that photographers feel that they have to keep upgrading in order to keep up with the fast-moving technology. I used the same film cameras and lenses literally for decades.

Edited by John Mitchell
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I see that there is an organisation called the Sustainable Apparel Coalition which has to be a step in the right direction, as is the news that Joaquin Phoenix wil be wearing his Stella McCartney tuxedo for the entire awards season.

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