View Full Version : Third world street photographers

29-Jan-2009, 10:50
i had a guy in Jaipur take my picture


and ever since i have been fascinated with this process. i saw it again in the movie "Burden of Dreams" when, in the credits, the cinematographers film themselves getting their photos taken by a very similar setup. last night i found this paper on the subject:


"And the trade he has learned, as it turns out, is a remarkable one. The camera he uses probably stems from the turn of the century or even earlier and operates in an intriguing way. It remains a fixed distance from the object (about 6ft). Kishan loads the camera with negative paper (Kodak commercial photographic paper). He exposes the paper by taking off the lens cap (there's no shutter) and counts to guess the exposure time – 2 to 3 seconds in daylight and 15 to 20 seconds in subdued light. During the exposure of the paper, the client must stay utterly still and not blink or change facial expression or else a blur will result. To end the exposure, Kishan replaces the lens cap. To develop the print, he uses the back of the camera itself as a kind of darkroom. Inside there is a tray containing homemade developing fluid. He pulls the paper out from behind the lens and dips it in the developer while looking at it through a red glass panel (which prevents white light from reaching the negative paper). Once it is sufficiently developed, Kishan removes it from the camera and dips it in a fixative tray (held underneath the camera) for a few seconds; then he washes the paper negative in a bucket of clean fresh water. He dries this as much as he can and then mounts the negative print on the frame visible in front of the camera lens and re-exposes the print for 10 to 15 seconds, again depending on the light conditions. Because he is re-photographing the original negative on to a further sheet of negative paper, he ends up with a positive print which he develops in the same way (back through the two solutions in the rear of the camera, washed in water and dried). It is then ready for the customer to take away. The whole process is while-you-wait – about 20 minutes from start to finish, no film, no plate.[3]"

surely, in your travels as photographers, one or some of you must have run across some of these guys. any light to shed? what chemicals are they using?

29-Jan-2009, 13:09
If business doesn't pick up, I'll also be on the street corner with a
"will shoot for food" sign.

29-Jan-2009, 14:21
There is a guy in Detroit, originally from Belgium, who has one of those. It seems his father (or was it grandfather) used it to make on the spot post cards back in the old country.

Wayne Crider
29-Jan-2009, 19:48
From what I've gathered over the years it's a popular thing down in Cuba as well. For chemicals I would suspect that it's some paper equivalent of D23.

Rolfe Tessem
29-Jan-2009, 19:59
These guys are all over the street in Kabul as well, most of them with the cameras painted with amazing decorative designs.

30-Jan-2009, 03:27
I've seen one of those before on one of my travels to India.
I think it is fascinating that pictures are still taken with this method there :)