A fascinating documentary on the wooden camera photographers of Afghanistan

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In modern Kabul, only two men in town practice the dying art of kamra-e-faoree photography, or shooting pictures with a unique, retrotech wooden camera. This method of picture-taking first caught on in Afghanistan in the 1930s and 1940s. Over the decades, it dwindled in popularity because of political pressure and improving camera technology. As the Afghan Box Camera Project explains:

As of June 2011 Afghanistan is one of the last places on earth where photographers continue to use a simple type of instant camera called the kamra-e-faoree for means of making a living. The hand-made wooden camera is both camera and darkroom in one and generations of Afghans have had their portraits taken with it, usually for identity photographs. At one stage it was even outlawed when former rulers of Afghanistan, the Taliban, banned photography, forcing photographers to hide or destroy their tools.


One of the last kamra-e-faoree photogs is Qalam Nabi, who appears in the above video demonstrating how this device works. The ABCP has even assembled a guide to building your very own kamra-e-faoree.

[ABCP via Nerdcore]