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Is film photography forbidden by certain religions?
Old 07-23-2017   #1
Robert Lai
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Is film photography forbidden by certain religions?

Ok, I can forsee how this discussion could easily take a nasty turn. So, if the moderators find it to become offensive, please delete this thread entirely.

Earlier this year, I worked at a family practice clinic in my old hometown of Scarborough, Ontario in Canada. The area has changed in its population profile. A lot of immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia and other primarily Muslim countries now live in the area. I soon found out that they all refused to take the antibiotic amoxicillin. Or, any other medication that was encapsulated with gelatin. They feared that gelatin could be made from pigs, which is unclean to them. So, I had to change their prescription to an alternative. I don't recall any of the Hindu patients asking for a prescription change though.

So, does this extend to photography with film? Film is coated with gelatin. According to Wikipedia: "Gelatin is derived from pork skins, pork, and cattle bones, or split cattle hides.[5] ".
Granted, with film photography you are not eating the stuff. But, you are touching it.

If anyone of the Islamic, Jewish, or Hindu faiths can enlighten me, it would be appreciated. I am not trying to start a religious war. I just want to know what is permitted or not by your beliefs.
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Old 07-23-2017   #2
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The gelatin issue I've never heard of with regard to photography. I've been a photographer in many Muslim nations and I will say that the respect to culture and gender is a big thing. I learned back in 1998 in the UAE that I shouldn't take any photos of females without their male family members' consent. I respected that and never got beat up nor my camera confiscated or destroyed. When I was in Iraq in 2004/2005 I respected this as well but the rules were a little looser. As I was with the US Navy, I had a different role of protecting the identity of the people I photographed, so I actually did very little of that.
Back on topic though, I never saw any difference in handling film when working with people of the Islamic faith.

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Old 07-23-2017   #3
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The Hopi Nation doesn't like being photographed. This is certainly true of the elders. I don't have a lot of current experience with younger members of the tribe.
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Old 07-23-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
I am not associated with any orthodox faith, but I and most of my many vegan/vegetarian friends will not take medicine in gelatin capsules. There are some gelatin-free capsules available, so if capsule form is the only option, we transfer the contents to vegan capsules.

Incidentally, the same goes for flu shots and other inoculations that contain eggs. There is now an egg-free flu vaccine, though it's probably more due to allergies.

I can see how some faiths would object. Think of India and its reverence for cows. In its heyday, Kodak went through millions of pounds of cow bones per year. The accounts of their gelatin business are pretty gruesome.

Before starting to use film again, I wrestled with the issue of gelatin in film, but decided to go ahead. This article on the Adox web site, and other research, helped me reconcile it for myself.

John
I don't think it's bones that Kodak used in making gelatin for film production, but hooves are used. There were a number of papers written by Kodak Scientists regarding the quality of the clover the cows are (were) fed and the resulting issues with color balance in properly aged Kodachrome.
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Old 07-23-2017   #5
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I am a Hindu, a vegetarian, and I use film and gelatin capsules.

I did ponder over the gelatin-in-film issue a few years ago and was disappointed to know of it, however; after doing some research I was satisfied to know that animals are not specifically killed to make film. Thinking of it the other way, we had no choice but to use film before digital came into existence and I cannot not use leather boots, belts etc. I am sure I hurt animals in other ways regardless of whether I use film or not, hence I haven't given up on using film and I don't regret it. You can call me an imperfect Hindu.

I am also a physician and know and accept that a lot of animals are sacrificed to further our science.

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Old 07-23-2017   #6
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The Religion of Digital Photography is strongly opposed to Film Photography!
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Old 07-23-2017   #7
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Well, my wife and kids are sick of me photographing them, so I've laid off. Now it's hills, trees and lakes.

I realize that a lot of cultures don't want to be photographed. Some believe that the camera captures a part of their soul.

Interesting that the Adox information says that even inkjet prints use gelatin. For a while, I was thinking that pure digital photography would be ideal if I was a devout Muslim.
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Ways around anything
Old 07-23-2017   #8
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Ways around anything

There are ways around just about anything - amoxicillin, for example comes as a flavored suspension for pediatric use. There are adults who cannot take pills (in my family) and so the pediatric suspension is often used for them. No gelatin capsules needed.
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Old 07-23-2017   #9
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Navajo Indian adults don't want their photos taken. Kids are OK with it. This is their culture, I was told.
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Old 07-23-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKR View Post
The Hopi Nation doesn't like being photographed. This is certainly true of the elders. I don't have a lot of current experience with younger members of the tribe.
Hopi and Navajo allow photos of children. I have done it.



His mother covered her face with both arms.
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Old 07-23-2017   #11
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Old 07-23-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
Hopi and Navajo allow photos of children. I have done it.


His mother covered her face with both arms.
I don't think Navajo are a problem.

Many Hopi people believe a photo can steal their soul. I've never heard that it's not a problem with children?
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Old 07-23-2017   #13
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I know vegans who wouldn't use it, so I can see that some people would feel it was in opposition to their faith too.

I'm glad there are are more acceptable options for them.
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Old 07-23-2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKR View Post
I don't think Navajo are a problem.

Many Hopi people believe a photo can steal their soul. I've never heard that it's not a problem with children?
I agree, the Dine kids I know are pretty modern:

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Old 07-23-2017   #15
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Originally Posted by Chris101 View Post
I agree, the Dine kids I know are pretty moder]
Upper vs Lower Moenkopi?

"Be reminded that while on Hopi you are considered a guest. Photographing, recording or sketching of villages and ceremonies are strictly prohibited. It is critical that guests obey all rules and regulations established by the villages."
http://itcaonline.com/?page_id=1162

It's been some time since I was in 4 corners. I spent some weeks there on a project. I didn't carry cameras into Lower Moenkopi until I knew everyone was indoors. And then, just photographed the homes. We had a polite understanding that I wouldn't break any rules. My fixer/guide was a news photographer who was Hopi, and grew up in Upper Moencopi.
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Old 07-23-2017   #16
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I don't think Navajo are a problem.

Many Hopi people believe a photo can steal their soul. I've never heard that it's not a problem with children?
I was told by some Mexicans that adults believe in losing their souls but that children are protected.
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Old 07-23-2017   #17
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This is my grand daughter Evelyn, DiL Shannen and son, who is actually Mayan (Guatemalan.) Dine is their name for Navajo. Shannen (100% Dine) lives in Phoenix, but her family is from the Four Corners reservation.
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Old 07-23-2017   #18
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There is no way in modern life to remove oneself from the consumption or use of animal products. One can only regulate their own intake or handling of something they don't like but that doesn't mean the trucker that drove their quinoa to whole foods or the local ayurvedic friendly market didn't have a big breakfast of bacon, sausage and eggs. Where one can draw the line is only at their own behavior but their consumption of anything they did not grow themselves is still easily within the scope of use of the animal.
Just be kind to each other and respect each others' beliefs, is what I believe and all we can do to make the earth a decent place to live.

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Old 07-23-2017   #19
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In the 60's I learned of a remote colony of Mennonites in the mountains not to far from my home. At that time they wouldn't permit photographs and didn't particularly welcome outsiders. This group used no electricity, no inside plumbing, phones, gasoline powered anything and even no rubber tires.

Because of my interest in preserving the obscure cultures in my area I set out to get acceptance in this community with the hopes of making photography. It was a long process over several years before I became invisible to them. In time I photographed them at play and work over several years making only a few images and not over staying my welcome.

In time I recorded some beautiful images but things have changed. Dissent within the community resulted in it fracturing into two groups. The one in my area now has become very commercial and has restaurants, uses modern gasoline farm equipment opposed to the horses and mules of the 70's and before and drive black cars. They live in modern homes with air conditioning and all the modern conveniences we have. They raise cattle and tobacco commercially and have been quite successful.

The other half of the community moved to a remote area of Kentucky and preserve the traditions of the faith.

Follow the link to one of the images. http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffg...?photoid=59114
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Old 07-23-2017   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darshan View Post
I cannot not use leather boots, belts etc.
Interesting I did not know about this.
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Old 07-23-2017   #21
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Quote:
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Interesting I did not know about this.
You are welcome .
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Old 07-23-2017   #22
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You are welcome .
Yes sir...thanks.

So no leather sofas, car seats, wallets, watch bands, etc.?
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Old 07-23-2017   #23
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Quote:
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Yes sir...thanks.

So no leather sofas, car seats, wallets, watch bands, etc.?
I guess we'll have to start going on a few dates if you wanna get into such details of my daily living . The "etc." in my initial statement covers some common things which I didn't find necessary to mention, however; most people get the idea. Now, I will appreciate if you can give me a good reason that prompted your response, if you don't have any, I suggest you let this thread continue like the OP intended.

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Darshan
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Old 07-23-2017   #24
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I guess we'll have to start going on a few dates if you wanna get into such details of my daily living . The "etc." in my initial statement covers some common things which I didn't find necessary to mention, however; most people get the idea. Now, I will appreciate if you can give me a good reason that prompted your response, if you don't have any, I suggest you let this thread continue like the OP intended.

Regards,
Darshan
My most humble and sincere apologies if you find my questions offensive in any way sir I can assure you that was not my intention to insult or offend you. My only motive was to maybe learn a little something that I was wholly ignorant of. I also apologize to the OP and other members for veering OT.
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Old 07-23-2017   #25
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Okay now I understand the communication breakdown...

You wrote "cannot not use" and I misread it. I get it now. That second 'not' was camouflaged for me there for a minute...

My bad.
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Old 07-23-2017   #26
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In the Santería religion rituals are not supposed to be photographed. Digital or film, does not matter. Sometimes animal sacrifices are involved.
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Old 07-23-2017   #27
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I heard Caveman..Don't like being photographed..w/film that is..digital is ok..
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Old 07-23-2017   #28
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When some buddhists have to eat forbidden substances, they would say:"Meat and alcohol go through your guts, while Buddha stays in your heart." I think that's some nice attitude that contributes to world peace.

I don't think film is a problem for them.
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Old 07-23-2017   #29
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It seems to be more like an educational issue than a religious one. I know of no religion forbidding photography, but I have met many ignorants living by the fears of their misinterpreted religions.
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Old 07-24-2017   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contarama View Post
My most humble and sincere apologies if you find my questions offensive in any way sir I can assure you that was not my intention to insult or offend you. My only motive was to maybe learn a little something that I was wholly ignorant of. I also apologize to the OP and other members for veering OT.
No worries, apology accepted.

Darshan
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Old 07-25-2017   #31
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I've always thought that Islamic art isn't allowed portray animals and people. Although that doesn't stop Al Jazeera filming people and animals.
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Old 07-25-2017   #32
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Pennsylvania resident. Amish in these parts. Everyone knows you don't take their picture. That they really, really don't like it. I kept waiting for someone here to say, "Amish!" I forget how regional to PA this religious group is. Still use horse and buggies, do not use mechanized automation, and if you go to an Amish restaurant, the bill is added up with a pencil and paper -- no calculator.
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Old 07-25-2017   #33
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Quote:
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Many Hopi people believe a photo can steal their soul. I've never heard that it's not a problem with children?
I obviously cannot speak for specific beliefs held by specific members of the Hopi people but in general, restrictions on photography, video, etc... are more likely due to concerns about privacy, intellectual property, respect for ceremonies and things of that nature rather than fear of having their souls stolen.

https://beyondthemesas.com/2009/12/1...opi-protocols/

Also if there is an institutional belief among the Hopi that photos will steal souls, then Hopi photographers would not be taking photos of other Hopis.

https://www.si.edu/Exhibitions/Seven...hemselves-2217
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Old 07-25-2017   #34
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Quote:
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Navajo Indian adults don't want their photos taken. Kids are OK with it. This is their culture, I was told.
Don't know about that, man. In oljato (monument valley), as long as you paid for a guided tour no one gave a damn about what and whom you took a picture of. Actually, even before that no one cared. Same at other touristic locations like the canyons in nw arizona.
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Old 07-25-2017   #35
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Laura Gilpin photographed the Navaho and produced a book "The Enduring Navaho" in the 1960's. I have a copy. This thread has motivated me to dig it out and look through it once more
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Old 07-25-2017   #36
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Quote:
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Navajo Indian adults don't want their photos taken. Kids are OK with it. This is their culture, I was told.



The Aboriginals here in Australia have similar sensitivities and from what I gather it's to do with death and the possibilities of viewing someone who has died. Quite often television programs here that are aimed at the indigenous community will have an opening warning that there may be images in the footage of people who are deceased.
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Old 07-25-2017   #37
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Slightly off topic, but I admire companies that have re-branded vinyl as vegan leather.

There are quite a few camera bags now using pleather I mean vegan leather.
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Old 07-25-2017   #38
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Will cannibals eat vegans? That's the question.
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Old 07-25-2017   #39
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I'd prefer to see religion forbidden. Seems like the cause of most trouble in this world.
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Old 07-25-2017   #40
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Quote:
I'd prefer to see religion forbidden. Seems like the cause of most trouble in this world.
Athiesm is a belief system also. How will you enforce it? Universal Communist revolution? That's been tried with disastrous results and millions of deaths in the last century:

Russia - Lenin, then Stalin
China - Mao
Cambodia - Pol Pot and his killing fields...
the list is almost endless.
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