Posted on August 03 2020
One of the debate in traditional photography is the use of animal products, namely gelatine.
At RK, like in the real world, we are a mixed bunch, with an avid meat eater (in fact an ex butcher) and a life long tree hugger/soil association card carrying member.
I (the tree hugger) compiled and will endeavour to manage a handy search and 'flag' system for products that are vegan, as it does go beyond gelatine in emulsion: fine art and inkjet papers are often sized using animal products, the glue binding sheets is often animal based. etc. All vegan products will now be tagged and a little leaf will appear in the title of vegan items.
However there is a big proviso here: many products do not contain animal products but they do not have a certificate for it. Hahnemühle is a rare thing to have issued a certificate of conformity for all their papers (apart for the Photo Silk Baryta). Furthermore, the glue in their sketch pads is also animal free, a stumbling block for many. Yet for example Awagami does not have a vegan certificate but having been there and having seen how the paper is made, I can however state that at least their handmade paper is certainly vegan (the size they use is plant based), although I do not have a clue about the inkjet coating. Another plus for Awagami is that Kozo, Bamboo, etc are all renewables, using coppiced style plants.
Of course there is more to tree hugging than avoiding animal products: pollution and waste of resources is also of interest. You will notice that with chemicals, the pollution weight of the products is quite clearly indicated, and we do advise customers that even so called one-shot items can often be re-used. When I know the life span of a product, it is added to the description. I am however more familiar, for obvious reason, with the less polluting items.