“Afghan Box Camera” documents a living form of photography on the brink of disappearing in Afghanistan, one of the last places on earth where photographers have continued to use 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 the Taliban banned photography forcing photographers to hide or destroy their tools. In this film, Manawar Shah, a young carpenter in Kabul, is building such a camera.
Sean Foley, an Irish ethnographer specialising in visual anthropology, works as a researcher on art projects. He first made it to Afghanistan in 2002. He has made ethnographic films on mortuary workers in India, tourism in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and cultural ecology in the south of Greece.
Lukas Birk is an Austrian multi-media artist who exhibits regularly and organises visual-media workshops. He works primarily in Asia. In China and Indonesia he has set up artists in residency programs as well as networks of local artists to co-operate with those in his native Austria.