22.09.2023 – 21.01.2024

Mining Photography. The Ecological Footprint of Image Production

Logo Mining Photography. The Ecological Footprint of Image Production
Logo Mining Photography. The Ecological Footprint of Image Production
Left: Lake Bed Developing Process, 2013 © Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio
Ever since its invention, photography has relied on the extraction and exploitation of natural resources. In the 19th century these were salt, copper and silver, which were used for the first photographs on copper plates and for salt paper prints. With the advent of gelatin silver prints, the photographic industry became the world’s biggest consumer of silver by the late 20th century, accounting for more than half of global usage.

In the age of digital photography and smartphones, image production requires metals such as coltan and cobalt, as well as those of the rare earths. Furthermore, both storing and distributing images produce large amounts of CO2.

“Mining Photography” is dedicated to the material history of the commodities that are of crucial importance to photography, showing how their extraction and disposal are linked with climate change.

An exhibition by the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg in collaboration with the Kunst Haus Wien and the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur.

Media conference

Wednesday, 20 September 2023 – 11 a.m. 
With an introduction to the exhibition and a joint tour of the exhibition.

Please send a brief confirmation to Media Relations if you wish to attend. 


Information for media professionals

Media information files and high-resolution media images are available for download. Impressions of each exhibition are released after the official opening.

We are happy to send you a specimen copy or a link to coverage of our exhibitions on request.

If you have any particular questions about the exhibition, require additional material or are looking for the right people to interview, please contact Media Relations for more information.

Media information is available in German only.

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