Is Photo Paper Vegan?

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Many blogs and forum posters claim that photo paper has gelatin in it, and therefore isn’t vegan.

I tried to track down a source for this claim, but the best I could find was the gelatin silver process.

The gelatin silver process is the photographic process used with currently available black-and-white films and printing papers. A suspension of silver salts in gelatin is coated onto a support such as glass, flexible plastic or film, baryta paper, or resin-coated paper. 

This used to be common, but it’s not that common in modern day printing.

Modern paper, from what I could find, is typically lined with polymers (i.e. plastic), which is vegan.

For example, Ilford resin coated paper is vegan-friendly:

Resin Coated Inkjet Papers are the papers most people regard as ‘photographic’ because they’re the type that your typical mini-lab uses. These papers are made using a layer of (usually low grade) wood pulp, over which a layer of plastic is placed, usually polyethylene

So, as far as I can tell, most photo paper is vegan.

A long time ago it wasn’t, but technology has evolved.

It’s hard to know for sure, since ingredients aren’t typically listed alongside photo papers, but you can contact a particular manufacturer if you’re really concerned.

Let me know if you find additional information either way and I’ll update the page.

On a side note, it does seem like film contains gelatin, so vegan photographers should stick to digital.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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