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ABDUL SATAR  

Abdul Satar, 51, is father to four sons; and he proudly remembers his own father, Abdul Samad, as one of the earliest kamra-e-faoree photographers in Kabul. The first he recalls as Afandi (a colleague of Ahmadin Taufiq); and it was Afandi who introduced his father to the kamra-e-faoree.

During the time of Zahir Shah (1933-1973), Abdul Samad (on the right) travelled around the provinces taking identity photographs for the national identity card; he remained working in photography all of his life. Indeed Abdul Satar's father had his own photo shop in the Kote Sangi area of Kabul for over fifty years.

 

On the left is a picture of Abdul Satar's grandfather. It's one of the oldest kamra-e-faoree photographs we came across. The photographic paper used was produced by Forte, a Hungarian company which ran out of business a few years ago.

As a young boy Abdul Satar learnt his trade from his father in the family shop. Years laters when heavy fighting broke out in the locality during the civil war, he was forced to close down the store and travel to Peshawar in Pakistan to work. Sadly, the shop was destroyed during the conflict, but later he managed to re-open a new one on the same site.

The services Abdul Satar now offers are completely digital, and he's disparaging about the new technology (even if he reluctantly excepts there's no reasonable way of earning a living without it).

"A computer is not an art, that [kamra-e-faoree photography] was an art," he bemoans. "A computer is not a skill, that was a skill!"

He softens his tone to remember the analogue past: how he used to stay up all night penciling in negatives to candlelight.

 

 

Below is a short video of Abdul Satar searching through the pages of his family album which was kept hidden by his aunt during the Taliban years. He finally comes across a picture (above left) of himself as a young man relaxing at home in the night-time; a pair of candles light the room.