Do all brands of photographic film utilize gelatin in their composition? How about Polaroid?

Any vegan-friendly brands that do not use gelatin? If so, what do they use instead?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't lick your film, maybe? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 3, 2015 at 13:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you care from vegan / vegetarian POV, remember that tallow is used in steel rolling, so whenever you use anything made from steel, there is high chance you are using something made with animal products in the process. This affects most equipment, I'm afraid. On the other hand - both tallow and gelatin are just trash of meat production anyway, no cows are ever killed just for these compounds. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Sep 3, 2015 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ What are you intending to print on? Photographic paper also has a gelatin matrix. \$\endgroup\$
    – user13451
    Sep 4, 2015 at 3:28

2 Answers 2


Do all brands of photographic film utilize gelatin in their composition?

Most likely Yes; but they're not saying publically (and may or may not tell you if you asked them.)

How about Polaroid?

Polaroid no longer exist except as a brand. The factory's new owners The Impossible Project had a pretty hard time as they could not use the components left behind and had to reinvent the whole process so the odds of them modifying the process further are limited. But they have a support desk you could submit a request to.

Any vegan-friendly brands that do not use gelatin? If so, what do they use instead?

I've searched around and haven't found any. I'm assuming you've done the same which makes me think there probably aren't any manufacturers.

If you really have a burning desire to do photography with a vegan chemical process then you might want to look at some of the early processes where you make your own materials and can use a gelatin substitute which should be readily known/available to most vegans. Or possibly open up some boutique shop/website making and selling vegan film/paper...

It seems like a lot of effort compared to a digital setup.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And then there's wet plate, too. \$\endgroup\$
    – null
    Sep 2, 2015 at 21:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Absolutely - all the early processes were done from raw materials for quite some time. :) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2015 at 21:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Polaroid's "financial state" is completely defunct. The brand still exists, but only because it was sold off to one of those companies that specializes using classic brand names to sell cheap junk to consumers who don't know any better, until all the good will is sucked from the name. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 2, 2015 at 22:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Instant film for Polaroid cameras is now being produced by the Impossible Project. They took over Polaroid's factory, so presumably using the same sort of process. Could be worth contacting them to ask if they use gelatine or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – vclaw
    Sep 2, 2015 at 22:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ You forgot about the question in the title - why? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 3, 2015 at 0:33

This FAQ on PETA's website suggests that there is no vegan friendly film, and they themselves use digital cameras to minimize their use of animal products (though they do make an exception from this policy in using photographs from others).

Does film contain gelatin?

Unfortunately, we do not know of any film that is made without gelatin. Over the years, PETA has pressured film manufacturers to find a gelatin substitute, and while Kodak and Fuji have researched non-animal alternatives, they still claim that they cannot replace animal gelatin in film.

However, both of these companies and many others now offer digital cameras, which capture images on a disk and print them through a computer without the use of film.

Today, PETA primarily uses digital cameras and images. Our members, others who send us photos, and agencies like the Associated Press—from which we sometimes purchase photos—also use mostly digital cameras. In the past, however, there was little choice, and we made the decision to use film—with the knowledge that it contained gelatin—to document cruelty (e.g., in the case of the Silver Springs monkeys) and to educate people. It was an imperfect decision, but we felt that, ultimately, taking photos with film served the greater good by bringing the plight of animals into the public eye.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What about transparencies? \$\endgroup\$
    – user152435
    Feb 16, 2017 at 18:25

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