Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kamra-e-Faoree


Well played to Lightbox for featuring the work of the guys over at Afghan Box Camera whose anthropological study of the now disappearing Kamra-e-Faoree is as fun as it is an essential piece of photo history from Afghanistan.

Above is a photo of the actual Kamra-e-Faroee that I bought from Rohullah in Kabul and shipped home for $35 courtesy of the US military - despite it weighing some seventy kilos.

I wonder now whether the decline in these magic boxes is perhaps as much due to foreign photographers becoming obsessed with their beauty and the otherworldly photos they take, rather than the onslaught of the digital revolution. I wonder also whether I too should feel guilty for my part in stripping Afghanistan of yet another layer of it's unique culture.



On my first visit to Kabul there were dozens of these street photographers working their trade downtown including Qalam Nabi (above) who is mentioned in the article. When I returned he was one of only a handful left. Here's one of my favorite portraits, taken by Nabi from my days of obsessive spending on Kamra-e-foree pictures...

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