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medickayaker 10-30-2009 10:31 PM

"Green" paper
Hi all,

I recently purchased an Epson R2880 to replace an Epson R800 that died. I have been printing on Epson Photo Luster paper and love the results. However, my environmental self wants to find a quality fine art paper that is "green." I have researched several sites and paper manufacturers and found the Hahnemuhle Bamboo and Hahnemuhle Sugar Cane. Hahnemuhle USA sent me samples of both and I like them both for different reasons. Although, I am leaning toward the Sugar Cane because of it's texture. Both seemed to be produced sustainably and from renewable resources. Has anyone else found any other similar quality fine art paper? Also, is anyone aware of a company that is producing "green" matting materials.

Thanks in advance for your help.

crbattreall 11-14-2009 12:36 PM

Green Paper
I wrote an article on this subject a few years ago for NPN. Hahnemuhle Bamboo is a nice paper, however, Hahnemuhle wouldn't tell me their source for their bamboo. Yes, bamboo is a fast growing weed, but how and where it is grown is important, and if is taken from the wild, that is very bad. Same goes for the sugar cane products. I gave Hahnemuhle the benefit of the doubt in my article. Red River makes Green Pics, a paper made out of 100% recycled material. It is perfect for cards, posters and proofing, but because one never knows exactly what materials are used in the paper, its archival properties are never known. Their is a paper made from stone, but it was terrible and well, stone comes from mining.

I wouldn't stress it too much, inkjet printing is a thousand times better for the environment than traditional chemical output, especially color, which is evil and very toxic.

Use your images for good, that's the best way to help, if you think about it too much, you will realize that photography in general is a massive producer of waste and bad for the environment.


medickayaker 11-15-2009 08:01 AM

Green Paper
Hi Carl,

Thanks for your thoughful reply. I agree that photography is inherintly 'dirty.' However, the digital age has allowed me to take more pictures, while lessening my carbon footprint. Especially since 100% (except for the largest prints 16x20 and larger) of all prints now come from my computer and printer. This is a vast improvemt from the old film days. Accordingly, it seems that Hahnemuhle has the market cornered with their Sugar Cane and Bamboo papers. I looked at Red River "Green Pics" paper and was not satisfied with the quality; it did not have the feel of a fine art paper and their continued quality and batch to batch control brought quality control issues to mind. Like you, I am inclined to give Hahnemuhle the benefit of the dought and hope that they have a way of sustainably farming the bamboo. After playing with the Sugar Cane and Bamboo papers I find that I like them both for different reasons. I like the heavier texturing of the Sugar Cane but the Bamboo seems to be easier to print on. Both papers do a wonderful job with color gamut and black and white.

As far as stressing, I am a nature photographer who shoots mostly from a kayak and always within 250 miles of my home. Accordingly, through my art, I am making a statement about the beauty of Pennsylvania's natural world and trying to instil the importance, through my art, of our fragile environment as well as what's in our "backyard" that the average person can't see because of not being on the water. Furthermore, using a quality "green " paper furthers my niche market and demonstrates that you can create photographic fine art in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Again, thanks for your thoughts and input. I was happy to see that your research validated what I found.



crbattreall 11-15-2009 11:42 PM

Honestly, I am just happy to see another photographer concerned about "their" impact. I wrote an article for Currents a few years back that challenged photographers to think about their waste, and well, got stone walled.

medickayaker 11-16-2009 11:40 PM

Green Paper

I would have expected more from NANPA. One of the reasons I joined NANPA was because I expected that their members would be more sensitive to photography's impact on the environment. I agree with you that photography is inherently dirty. I also agree that we (nature photographers/artists) should be using our art toward the environment's best good.

Are you reading this mods and NANPA staff? Maybe it's time to revisit an article about photography's environmental impact and how that can be lessened. For example, several years ago I made a commitment that all of my photography would stay within Pennsylvania's borders and thus limit my carbon footprint. During this time I have discovered a wondrously diverse state that has tidal areas, mountains, some of the darkest night-time sky east of the Mississippi, old growth forests; and have been able to share this diversity (through my images) to people who had no idea what is in their proverbial backyard. An example of this is my website's masthead image that shows a bald eagle perched on one end of a log and a painted turtle on the other end. This image was captured while kayaking at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, less than one mile from Philadelphia International Airport!



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