I recently came across this website about Afghan box cameras and I cannot get it out of my mind. These things are AMAZING, so I wanted to share this with you!

“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.

The aim of the Afghan Box Camera Project is to provide a record of the kamra-e-faoree which as a living form of photography is on the brink of disappearing in Afghanistan. […] The information we provide is based on a visit made to Afghanistan between April and June 2011 which focused on the capital Kabul and the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, as well as on previous visits to the country and region over the years, and ongoing research.”

Lukas Birk (photographer) and Sean Foley (anthropologist) are trying to raise money to go back to Afghanistan and learn even more techniques and history behind these amazing box camera creations before they become a lost art. If you would like to donate, they have a Kickstart project open until March 31, 2012. Depending on how much you donate you get little gifts in return. They also share all of their information about these cameras on their website. You can find links to videos, a pdf on how to build your own camera, how to use the camera, techniques, tools, and all sort of photographs taken by these street photographers. Pretty awesome right?!

Above are examples of photos taken with box cameras, as well as some examples of decorated cameras from the streets. The colored photographs on the bottom are all hand painted.

So, if you are feeling ambitious, creative, and looking for yet another project to take on, consider building one of these yourself and testing it out! I am totally into it! I want to make my own, and hopefully recruit my grandpa to help me out this summer. That way we can use his tools and extra parts, because I know he has a whole shop full of stuff and scraps of weirdness laying around. I am bound to find enough to build one of these!! Seriously though, even if you don’t want to build a camera, this project is so inspiring and it proves that you don’t need a fancy camera to make amazing photos!

*All information and images for this post were from the Afghan Box Camera Project Website.


Posted in INSTANT/POLAROID CAMERAS by Nicole Gelinas on February 24, 2012

Overall, using the Polaroid Macro 5 was surprisingly easy and I have a feeling that this camera is going to be used time and time again. Then again, I am really into macro photography, so it fits my needs! This camera is HUGE; it is literally larger than my head (see bottom image)! This is seriously something you would not want to pack around with you for too long, although for its size, it is surprisingly light! It was originally created for the medical field, such as dentistry, used for making records on your visits.

All of the controls are on the back panel. It is an SLR, so what you see in the viewfinder is what you get, and it has automatic exposure. The back panel also has buttons that let you lighten or darken the image by 1/3 f-stop in each direction. It also uses two flashes, one on either side of the lens. You can also choose to turn the flashes off, or only choose one to fire. It has five different settings that allows you to magnify your subject by 20%, 40%, 100%, 200%, or 300%.

When I first received the camera it had batteries and an old film cartridge already loaded. I figured this would be a good time to find out how the camera works without wasting any good film. I turned the camera on and a red light started to flash. This made me excited to see that the camera actually turned on, but every time I pressed the shutter button down, the camera would beep and continue beeping until I released the button. Still no image was ejecting from the bottom. I then put four fresh AA batteries in and waited for the cameras flash to charge. After a few hours it was still not letting me take a photo and it continued to beep and beep! After some research I discovered that each film pack contains batteries on the bottom side of the cartridge that must also be combined with the AA batteries before the camera will “charge”. I only had to wait seconds after inserting new film to start shooting. I knew it was ready when all of the lights on the back turned to green.

I used spectra film from the IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT. I wish I could tell you what kind of film this was exactly, but I bought a grab-bag and the packages were not labeled. If I had to guess I would say it was the PZ 600 SILVER SHADE UV+ BLACK FRAME. Each film pack contains 8 shots.

As far as the actual subject matter of the images, I was really trying to show the similarities of the dead leaf and the deceased butterfly. I loved how the edges of both were tattered, worn, and/or rotted away. I also loved that each one had their own unique markings and patterns. They shared similar curves, as well as light and dark markings throughout. Overall, I am really satisfied with the way these images turned out and the black border really holds the images in place and makes the subjects pop!

I shot all of these images on automatic, except for this one below. I decided I wanted to see what it would look like if I made one image a little darker. The setting did indeed make it darker. The photo came out kind of creepy looking actually, resembling a tintype photo or something?? Next to this is a size reference as to how large this camera really is!

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Posted in INSTANT/POLAROID CAMERAS by Nicole Gelinas on February 7, 2012


These are my first photos using my Polaroid Land Camera 100! They are definitely not perfect, but I will get better with time and practice! I found this camera really fun to use, but I think it will take a little time to get my exposures correct without first taking a test shot and then resetting the camera. For example the third photo was taken on the average middle setting, and the fourth image I lightened as much as possible in camera, so there is quite a range this camera can handle seeing as the whole scene was backlit.

This camera was first introduced in 1963 and was produced until 1966. The camera features automatic exposure, folding bellows, and two separate viewfinders (one for focusing and one for composing). Although it has automatic exposure, you can darken or lighten the scene by rotating the outer edge of the lens. The camera is fully collapsable to protect all of its parts and it uses packfilm.

*A little fun fact about my camera is that I converted it from its original battery (which are a little expensive, getting harder to find, and must be special ordered) to now using three AAAs which are readily available almost anywhere! Much more convenient!