Series of hand tinted photographic portraits of Portland residents taken in places that have a special connection for them – those new to the island as well as those from a longer lineage. Created using his self-built Afghan Camera Box/kamra-e-faoree, this traditional method of photography creates space for subjects to connect slowly with their surroundings, sharing memories, thoughts and exploring relationships to place and what it means to be from somewhere. Portraits are hand coloured, adding to the timeless quality of the image. Still used by veteran street photographers in Afghanistan and Iran, the camera box acts is also a darkroom, enabling participants to recieve their portrait within minutes of processing their image.
Afghanistan is one of the last places where photographers used a simple type of instant camera called the kamra-e-faoree (Instant Camera) 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.This camera has a fitted darkroom internally. There are two trays of chemicals which includes the developer and fixer fitted inside the camera. After the photographers are taken, they go through the developer and fixer and thereafter washed with water outside the camera. This process of creating a photograph takes only a couple of minutes. After the creation of the first negative, the camera can produce multiple copies derived from the exact negative.
“We live in a time where our present photography mostly operate electronically. The jpeg files are stored somewhere in the computer system; and they rarely get developed to a piece of memory which we could physically hold in our hand to gaze at. During my first visit to Portland, I was intrigued by the people’s unique connection to this sparsely populated island and its historical sites which serves as a stand-still in time. In order to justify the landscape and history which Portland encompasses by, I strongly feel this traditional method of photography will allow more room for subject to connect slowly with their surroundings and experience the joy of sharing one’s thoughts and memories with one another. This pulls them away from the instant gratification which mobile phones or electronic cameras provide by.”