Forty-nine years of age, and forty-two of them a photographer, Hamayoon works from a photo shop beside the river in old Kabul. The shop is as narrow as it is colourful, with an eclectic mix of montages displaying a variety of techniques Hamayoon says he picked up during his years living as a refugee in Iran.
A large black and white portrait of his father and teacher, Abdul Wasir holds pride of place above the door leading to the studio. Like Hamayoon, he is smiling.
Abdul Wasir learnt his trade in large format photography between sixty and seventy years ago. He was trained on the box camera by Afandi (see Ahmadin Taufiq) who sent him to work in the provinces taking identity photos. Hamayoon worked with his father from about the age of seven and from him learnt the basis of large format and box camera photography. After that he picked up further techniques during his time in Iran, where he fled to one year after the Taliban came into power. During the civil war, he stayed in Kabul.
Rafi, Hamayoon's eighteen year old son, works alongside his father. He started when he was about eleven. Because it was, and is, often considered more acceptable for a young boy than an adult male to take photographs of female customers, Rafi was sometimes employed as a boy photographer to photograph female parties at weddings. (Afghan wedding parties are usually divided into male and female areas.) Rafi still does so from time to time, Hamayoon says, because "some people just don't mind".