This medium-length film was made in collaboration with Mary Beatty, Ethan O’Brien, Pat O’Mahony and Kevin O’Shea, who took part in a film seminar about European Neo-realist cinema and its alternative film practice. Towards the end, we agreed to make a film together about filmmaking, photography; reflecting through interviews on this kind of cinema.
We organised the film around insights and specifically, Pat's replica of an Afghan Box Camera which also featured while Pat trying to make and print a photograph.
The Afghan Box Camera Project was started in 2011, by Lukas Birk and Irish ethnographer Séan Foley. The two went to Afghanistan with a replica and met street photographers still using such a camera. Used for over a century, it is purely mechanical. The closest to it in the West is the old Kodak Instamatic. You take the photograph, then the sitter waits while you develop it on the spot. Inside the camera’s dark interior there is a miniature darkroom which houses the chemical baths to develop and fix the image and enable cheap street photography.
Several attempts later at his very unusual type of wet photography, a print appears in the frame. It's a birth, an event, films are events. We screened the "rushes" immediately. That is the beauty of digital filmmaking: the sequences were in order so that we could look over what there was and discuss beginnings and endings. The following week, the last, we screened it. The others who came said it was so strange to see people they knew on a big screen. They had become strangers.
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