What makes an Eco-Ethical Photographer? We chat with photographers with a purpose

What makes an Eco-Ethical Photographer? We chat with photographers with a purpose
December 5, 2017 Sandra Henri


When it comes to choosing eco-ethical wedding suppliers, something I frequently get asked is “what makes for an eco-ethical wedding photographer?”. Well it’s not really a case of choosing an ethical photographer vs a non-ethical one, as photography is already a meaning filled service and most photographers work from a place where they honour the privilege of being part of people’s happiest life moments. What does differentiate photographers though, is how they action their eco-ethical values either through their lifestyle or business, or how they make make an impact through the powerful medium of imagery. We’ve chatted with an inspiring selection of Photographers with a deeper purpose, who are using their ability to communicate about issues they feel passionate about to raise awareness and give back. These are people who live wholeheartedly, and understand that doing good is as fulfilling for the recipient as it is for ourselves. So this feature is a way of giving back to these individuals and sending some appreciation their way.

Let’s start with Nicola from Fox & Kin. Nic was the instigator of internet sensation #rainbowloveau, an initiative to donate couples shoots to the LGBTQI community whilst Australia get’s it act together to legalise marriage equality. The movement become so popular that dozens of photographers around Australia and overseas jumped on board, flooding the internet with real life love stories.



What inspired you to use your photography for a deeper purpose?

“The idea sort of came to me quite suddenly. I had been stomping around the house muttering to myself about the current marriage equality situation. I’d posted a few status update rants on Facebook, but I hadn’t really ‘done’ anything about it. I felt helpless. I was heartbroken about the discrimination and hate surrounding the postal survey and I knew a lot of people had basically gone into hiding until it was over. People were avoiding being seen, alone or with their partners, because they didn’t want to be shamed for their sexuality. This infuriated me.

I wanted to do more than just shout ‘Love is love!’ and ‘All love is equal!’ from the rooftops. I wanted to ensure that the Australian public couldn’t escape visions of LGBTQI+ couples in affectionate, loving embrace. I wanted to break the internet with rainbow love.

When I had the idea, I texted my partner and asked – is this insane? He said – yep, do it. So I put the call out. One single post offering free shoots to LGBTQI+ couples in love. I also asked other photographers to join me. I was terrified that nothing would come from it. But that fear soon turned to excitement as I was inundated with requests for bookings. Several photographers came on board immediately and it quickly grew from there.



How do you see your photography as a way to make an impact?

Working as a wedding photographer, I began to notice a trend in wedding media and publications. We are overwhelmed with images of a certain age, race, body shape and sexuality. I think you can guess which ones. I want to see more diversity in images that promote love and marriage. Everyone falls in love – and plenty of people get married. But why aren’t they represented equally in publications?

I’ve chosen to dedicate my career to photographing people in love, and I want to ensure that my work represents all people. Rainbow Love is an extension of that sentiment. I hope that soon bridal magazines will catch on and feature a diverse range of couples.



What kind go impact have you seen grow from your work?

The initiative has grown far bigger than I could’ve imagined. We now have 30 photographers around Australia taking part in offering free shoots (and 3 internationally)! I have had so many people contact me to say how hearing about the initiative has brought a smile to their face in these difficult times. Couples saying that the shoots have brought them closer together and only further cemented their love and determination to be married. Young Australians struggling with their own sexual identity saying they feel supported and encouraged. And it has been so amazing to see so many diverse relationships plastered across the internet!” Nic.



Next up we have Jade from Little Glimpses Photography. Jade has been nominated several times for local business awards for her approach to sustainability. We hear what makes her an Eco-Photographer;



“As the years have passed, I have discovered more and more changes I can make to make my business even greener – things such as eco friendly albums and photo boxes, all promotional material are printed on recycled papers, 100% green web hosting for our website, solar energy to run our home office & all packaging is either recycled or made from renewable sources. All of these little things when put together make a bigger impact on this world. If everyone changes a few little things, this would make a huge impact!

For my clients I have an explanation on both my website and wedding magazine explaining to clients how little glimpses is eco friendly. I am hoping that informing them about my efforts will help them think about how they can minimize their footprint when planning their wedding. All albums, books and photo boxes used in my collections are made from recycled or renewable materials from eco-friendly companies. Through supporting other vendors who are like-minded we can strengthen the sustainable product industry for photographers like myself”. Jade.


Now over to Lina Hayes, whose dreamy travel, wedding and lifestyle images tell the story of living simply and treading lightly on this earth of ours.



“Rather than focusing on the negative, I love creating imagery that shows how the simple beauty of a plastic free lifestyle. Sharing my travel images on social media also highlights how beautiful our world is, and I hope to inspire others to want to protect it.  I find it very inspiring to receive messages from friends (and sometimes complete strangers!), who have seen my work and want to know how they can reduce the amount of plastic and waste in their lives too. These same people then share their own tips and journey with others, which creates a beautiful ripple effect to raise awareness and make zero waste lifestyle the norm, not an alternative”. Lina.



Next up is Rachel Kaye, wedding and lifestyle photographer who donates a percentage of profits to forest conservation.



“I’m very lucky to live in paradise! (the Byron Bay hinterlands) and I make the most of the magical region, shooting most of my portrait sessions outdoors in stunning natural locations such as beaches, waterfalls and rainforest reserves. Shooting in natural settings is really important to me. In our modern lifestyles it can be very easy to go weeks or even months without venturing out into nature. For me taking my clients out on location for their photoshoots is an opportunity for them to reconnect with nature, and the resulting images are a constant reminder to treasure these natural sanctuaries and not take them for granted.

I am so grateful for these beautiful backdrops and want to give back to the environment through my business. I feel that the most fitting way for me to do this is by donating to reforestation projects to keep our planet green. I’m currently setting up a partnership with a not for profit which undertakes conservation projects around Australia. For each photo session I undertake I’ll contribute funds to their conservation projects”. Rachel.



Finally we have Katherine Williams, from Something Blue Cinematography and Photography for weddings and couples. Katherine regularly volunteers her time to the Wayside Chapel in Sydney as a photojournalist, with her powerful images raising awareness as well as funding to support those who need it most.



What inspired you to use your photography for a deeper purpose?

“I’ve always been quite involved in working with challenged communities to examine, and hopefully alleviate, social problems. When I got into photography I realised that I could use my practice to give people who wouldn’t usually be heard something they desperately need: a voice. My main focus has been social portraiture and documentary. I have photographed families where teenage pregnancy runs through the generations, as well as others on the margins of society such as people living on the streets and those with mental health issues. Along the way, I realised that many people are not used to receiving positive attention, and that by taking their photo and showing interest in their lives I could make them feel seen – and with that visibility, comes the feeling of mattering, of being special. I take great care not to abuse this, and to nurture the positive things that can result.



How do you see your photography as a way to make an impact?

Most of us have absolutely no idea what life is like outside of their social status. I want people to understand that issues such as homelessness or addiction are not as simple as most people think. I want people to see those from other walks of life as equals and as human beings that are worthy of respect and love. My exhibitions and projects have also helped to raise money for places like the Wayside Chapel, where I am able to take photos of the community, for the community, and to give straight back to that community”.  Katherine.





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