Street Photography in Kabul, Afghanistan

Would You Believe There’s Street Photography In Kabul, Afghanistan

I just watched the video presented here which has impressed me as a technologist and photographer. It’s all about Street Photography in Kabul the capital city of Afghanistan, i.e. taking very primitive instant photographs in the streets of Kabul. If you are a technologist or photographer you might be impressed.

At the time of production there were only two such photographers left in Kabul.

The type of camera used is unique because of the manual method used to develop each photograph within the body of the camera.

Taking photographs and developing them in a poor part of the world cannot be easy under the circumstances that prevail in a city like Kabul. But here we see street photographer Qalam Nabi produce a photograph of the sitter – Javed – while he waits.

The Camera “Kamra-e-Faoree”

He uses a wooden box camera, with tripod legs, not only to acquire the initial image on photographic paper (which he stores in the darkness of the camera) but as a dark room to develop and fix a negative image on paper.

Metal dishes of developer and fixer are kept within the camera body and reached through a door in the side which has a light tight tube for the photographer to thread his arm.

He then re-photographs the paper negative and processes a negative of the negative – a double negative, which is of course a positive image.

Although photos are probably processed one at a time I suspect several can be taken in close succession. They could then be developed at the same time. e.g. If he wanted to take three he could take one after another and carefully save them in a small container within the camera body until he is ready to develop them

The whole process time is that required to:

  • take two photographs,
  • develop two photographs,
  • fix two photographs
  • and trim the final photo with scissors.

See The Video

Watch the video below showing the photographer Qalam Nabi using his Afghan box camera (a “kamra-e-faoree”) to take and develop photographs:

You will find more to read about the Afghan Box Camera here, here and here.