About this project
We reached our initial goal! Sincere thanks to everyone for supporting us over the past weeks.
THE NEXT PHASE is to raise the funds to travel to Peshawar in Pakistan where many Afghan photographers lived as refugees from the 1980s on. A lot of Afghan cultural life has been on the move over the last thirty years and we want the project to reflect that. The clock is still ticking on kickstarter so keep spreading the word!
Last year we travelled to Afghanistan to document the last of the Afghan box camera photographers. Our plan was simple: to find some working photographers on the ground and learn as much as we could about them and their cameras before it was too late. They were, we knew, disappearing at a rapid pace.
What happened took us seriously by surprise. We ended up meeting so many Afghans for whom the wider world of analogue photography had been a way of life as well as a skilled art form; who as well as plying their trade with box cameras, made highly sophisticated portraits a world away from the images of war and destruction for which their country is sadly known. Interview by interview, we were discovering a story that had never been properly told: Afghan photography by Afghans - and box cameras played a very big part in that.
Now we want to go back to Afghanistan to meet more photographers and continue exploring box camera photography there on a bigger scale - and that means travelling to places we didn't make it to last year. We've got a publisher for a book but the publisher can’t cover our travel costs and Afghanistan with its inflated war economy is an expensive country to travel in so we’re trying to raise the money here.
2011 TRIP After last year's trip we made all of our material available online at afghanboxcamera.com. Our belief is that this research should be available to everybody. The website is full of photo galleries, portfolios, camera techniques, interviews and essays that tell the story of the cameras and photographers we met, as well as instructional videos like this one we filmed in Kabul to show you how to use the camera.
AND THERE'S MORE - the site not only provides technical information for you to learn how to use a box camera, we even show you how to build one – so the art isn’t only recorded, it can be continued. And the website is a growing resource with contributors from around the world sending us their own box camera images, enabling us further to create an online archive on the subject.
What we’ll do this year On the heels of the 'How to Use' film we definitely want to make a 'How to Build' film in Kabul (and we've already got a carpenter lined up). But we've got bigger plans. We'll visit Afghan towns close to Iran, Tajikistan, and Pakistan to find new photographers and learn their stories and techniques, as well as revisit Kabul to meet our photographer friends from last year and film the 'How to Build' video. We're scheduled to depart mid-May and after we return we’ll put all new material online (once again) to share with you. A book will follow in 2013 and our publisher Dewi Lewis has kindly offered to give us books as KICKSTARTER rewards.
WHO ARE WE: a photographer and an ethnographer, although the work lines often get blurred. Kaussar and Javed, our translators from last year, will be joining us again.
COSTS we've got a pretty good idea from last year what to expect price-wise.
FLIGHTS & VISAS: $2600 we have to fly into Afghanistan from Europe and because of unsafe roads we'll be travelling around the country mostly by air. We also need visas.
LIVING: $3800 We're more than happy with a modest roof over our heads and the local eateries but it all adds up over a month and a half.
TRANSLATORS: $2400 Kausar and Javed have helped us as translators, organizers, researchers, photographers, and even modelled in the front of the box cameras on occasion.
PRODUCTION: $1000 this includes everything from taxis for all the shuttling about town we do, Afghan sim cards, commissioning photographers and buying their work, and carpenter fees for the 'How to build an Afghan Box Camera film' we'll make.
IN CASE WE RECEIVE MORE THAN $9,800 we will pump every last cent back into the project. In the long run we would like to hire local researchers to travel to destinations that would be hazardous for us to go security-wise. We also want to visit Peshawar in Pakistan where many Afghan photographers were living as refugees in the 1980s and '90s. More cash would make this possible.
CONTACT us to enquire about the project anytime at email@example.com.
We'll also be putting regular updates on our facebook page and here at KICKSTARTER.
Thank you & Teshakur!
Lukas & Sean
An Afghan box camera copy from your own digital passport photo.
A hand colored large format photograph done by an Afghan photographer.
An Afghan box camera.
An Afghan Box Camera T-shirt
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