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FAIZ MUHAMMAD  

Faiz Muhammad stopped working on his box camera one year ago in Talashi Chowk, Jalalabad. The camera still stands on his regular pitch advertising his continued services as a photographer.

He also uses it to store his digital camera.

The kamra-e-faoree was made by a carpenter in the Board area of Peshawar where he lived as a refugee for eight years.

Faiz Muhammad's teacher - whom he used to work alongside - was his elder brother Abdul Ahmad. His brother's teacher was a Hindu who used to work beneath a banyan tree in the same chowk he works in now.

So intelligent was his elder sibling, Faiz Muhammad claims, it only took him two days to learn, while it took Faiz Muhammad about four weeks to get the knack of the camera, in which time, he says, he got many a beating from his brother for making mistakes.

There used to be quite a number of Sikh box camera photographers in Jalalabad but they fled during wartime, he remembers. During Taliban times many box camera photographers were working here.

Ten years ago Faiz Muhammad returned to Jalalabad. Some customers, especially elderly ones, still come from the remote areas and ask for box camera photos but unfortunately it’s not possible to make them due to the lack of materials.

"They say: as far our work is concerned we don’t care for colour photos and black and white photos are also cheaper than the colour."

Faiz Muhammad also prefers the box camera. There was "bliss" in the camera, he explains. It was simple, there was money to be made, and if the paper and materials were available this work might be able to start over again. Because like he says, some people still ask for the photos.

Report with Kausar Hussain