Afghan Box Camera Project

Afghan Box Camera Project is a Photography project in Kabul, Afghanistan by Lukas Birk & Sean Foley. As I am an anthropologist myself, I found the Afghan Box Camera Project very interesting and appealing in two ways: As it is telling the story of great technological changes and also as it is a brief documentary on how our ‚forefathers‘ might have done photographs themselves and how ‚real‘ photography works the easiest way. The Afghan Box Camera Project provides a record of the kamra-e-faoree (instant camera) which as a living form of photography is on the brink of disappearing in Afghanistan.

In this video, Qalam Nabi, one of the last two remaining box camera photographers in Kabul demonstrates how to use his camera:

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.

For more information and videos and a downloadable instruction manual on how to build an Afghan box camera visit

You can also find the project on Facebook:

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