Lukas Birk
works / typed matters / exhibitions / publications / press / news / programs / research / contact & bio


Afghan box camera & the Afghan Box Camera Project with Sean Foley

Lukas first encountered the Afghan box camera in 2006. He spent several summers in and around Afghanistan to document tourists in conflict zones together with his colleague Sean Foley. (see Kafkanistan chapter)

The camera is a very simple box. Containing everything needed to take and develop an image. Lens, photographic paper and darkroom. A very essential way of taking an image. First the photographer takes a negative after that he takes a picture of the negative and gets a positive.

Over the last years Lukas has build several cameras with different features and focusing systems. With the growing interest in the camera and its history he and his colleague Sean decided to start a research on the camera. They spent 6 weeks in April and May 2011 and another 8 weeks in May and June 2012 in Afghanistan and Pakistan to investigate the origins, techniques and the many personal stories from the photographers using or having used this type of camera. The result of this research with photos, portfolios, how to do videos, manuals and research on the history of photography in Afghanistan and the box camera, can be found on the project website The videos from the project can also be viewed on vimeo, images on flickr and facebook.

A book publication with Dewi Lewis Publishing is currently in preparation.


Below images from the Afghan Box Camera Project

From the Hekmatyuallh collection

more images here.


How to use the the box camera. Film produced in 2011.


Box Camera to Digital. Produce in 2012.


Images from the different cameras Lukas has build over the years.

Box camera 1.0

Box camera 2.0

Box camera 2.1 (Lukas has taken this model to Afghanistan)

More images Lukas took with his box camera in Afghanistan can be seen here.

Box camera 4.0

box camera

box camera box camera

box camerabox camera

go to top