If you look at the description of what I do you will read with a special interest in food, country life, growers & makers and the environment, focusing on nature and sustainability for wellbeing, seasonal living and food miles. Working with clients and collaborators who have an ethical and sustainable mindset. You will often read my words thoughtful, considered, intentional and mindful.
You will also hear me say stay where you are, go deeper rather than wider. I will talk about Mindful Photography for wellbeing and Mindful Living. If you look up the word Mindful and you will read attentive, aware and careful. This article is how I am taking my mindful approach to photography and living deeper than solely photography for wellbeing…
Lately the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change – the IPCC or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a damming report on the future of climate change. I don’t think that its came as a surprise to anyone but non the less, it made stark reading/listening and upsetting. Since then I have been doing a lot of soul searching to see how I can do my extra bit…
I’m constantly reviewing my responsibilities and always looking for ways to improve relationship the environment – I’m fuelled by ethics and aesthetics. This is why I specialise in photography of food, growers & makers, lifestyle and environment, focusing on nature and sustainability for wellbeing, seasonal living and food miles. And why I work only with like-minded clients and collaborators who have an ethical and sustainable mindset.
It’s the little things – with the upmost respect for the land and the environment, I insist on leaving things as I found them, leaving my small footprints only. No litter. My preferred way of travelling is by train… for me it’s a no-brainer. On a longer journey, I always plan ahead and make sure that I have something productive to do on the train. I love to see parts of the country that you don’t from a motorway and often find it inspiring. I travel to Oxford regularly and have a personal project going on that takes in the changing land through the seasons. I always consider my energy consumption, waste production and tread lightly with small footprints.
Provenance and sustainability
As well as my online teaching and my work with clients and collaborators who have an ethical and sustainable mindset, I offer Limited Edition Fine Art prints which are sustainably made in the South West – printed on 100% cotton rag art papers – these papers are considered to be the most environmentally photographic paper as they doesn’t use any tree fibres. The paper is produced from a recycled by-product of the textile making industry. Although the cotton industry isn’t thought to be environmentally friendly, it is considered to have a low environmental impact because no cotton is grown specifically to make the paper.
Should a client ask for their prints to be framed, then I can happily tell them that their framed print with be hand crafted in the South West from FSC responsibly sourced timber which is a very environmentally friendly.
By choosing FSC certified forest products, you can be sure where they’ve come from. They won’t have been harvested in a way that causes irreversible damage to forests, people and wildlife.
The World Wildlife Fund.
As far as sending out prints is concerned, I aim to deliver your prints using the most carbon effective footprint that I’m able to offer… I use only sustainable and biodegradable packaging. For delivery, I use Royal Mail – in 2020 was the most carbon conscious delivery company and has recently invested in a 295-strong fleet of electric vehicles to further reduce its carbon footprint. I am constantly watching to better this.
I have been mindful for a while that we have seemed to have been sucked into a constant renewal of cameras, computers and phones – mass consumption on a global scale. This was brought to the front of my mind lately when I heard something on the radio about how all the plastic and metal are recycled. This has brought my recycling of these things to the top of my watch list. I already give careful consideration to the items that I buy, but intend to go deeper in the future. I donate these things to local Schools and Community Centres – this not only improves my relationship with the environment but also the community. Otherwise I consciously recycle.
This got me thinking inevitably about film photography and the chemistry side of things. I found myself making a list in my mind… it somehow went beyond the literal sustainability issues and into the realm of what it does for me personally. It has always been a given that my heart belongs in film and darkroom printing – always has done and always will do.
My mental list sounded something like this…
My film cameras are from 1993, 1957 and 1994. I have owned them for ever and obviously buy secondhand and sell to other people rather than recycle if I no longer want to keep them.
My professional labs are mindfully chosen by me and I ask them about their chemistry disposal. The chemistry I use for my personal work is always responsibly disposed of properly too and I know that the silver from fixer is retrieved and astonishingly there are now artisan jewellery makers that use this silver. I am also really aware at the moment that labs are becoming more sustainable and are sharing their research that is going on so their set up is completely transparent.
No comes the clever bit – there is no time needed in Lightroom or Photoshop as the choices are all made before you press the shutter release. Choice of film – not just colour or black and white, but for the results they offer – colour ranges, high or low contrast, fine grain or heavy grain and more. Then there are the filters that I pop in front of your lens if you are wanting particular effects. Using filters this way is a different approach compared to using software. Neutral Density filters for long exposures, graduated grey filters compensates bright lights in the sky, say if you are on the beach and there are also colour conversion filters for say correcting tungsten light, here the list is endless.
With a little thought and visualisation before you press the shutter release, the outcome is immediate – without having to spend hours of post-processing. Photography happens while shooting, not sitting behind a computer.
Much food for thought… for now and for the future. Do please email me with your practices – I would love to hear from you.
This article is dedicated to the newest generation of Custodians of our Planet.
GO QUIETLY | TREAD LIGHTLY