I was intrigued when I saw Landry’s work and what he used to shoot them. It’s obvious he has a real passion for his art. Below Landry describes a little about himself and his unique camera.
While wandering the dusty streets of Kabul in 2006, I came across a group of Afghan photographers taking passport-size pictures using big antiquated camera obscura boxes and silver print paper negatives. I explored every corner photo booth and shop, and found the perfect camera — my big green wooden box.
I started taking photos of my Kabul housemates, practicing how to focus with the polished glass paper holder inside the box and how to develop in a country with murky, grainy tap water and no electricity for heating the water.
I had to experiment with exposure times, and the only chemicals and paper I could find were Chinese made and long past their expiration dates. I also discovered that the hole for the lens was far too small and left a black ring around my photos, so I gradually filed away at it.
I then lugged the box around the neighborhood and into Kabul’s incredible old city, taking pictures of children in the Murad Khane neighborhood.
I live in Bangkok now and have started taking portraits of friends and clients, in the tradition of the old school studio photographers. Nothing digital, no electricity needed. Just a lot of light, silver gelatin paper and a touch of hocus pocus alchemy to make the images appear.
Some of my favorite images were from Kabul, because of the sharpness of the images and the depth of field. Because of the lengthy exposure times, the subjects had to remain very still, but a lot of photos just show a blur of movement or laughter.
I’ve been playing around with miniature shoots using action figures and turning the junk around my garden into make-believe scenery.
Asheqan Wa Arefan
Afghan Street Vendors
Landry and his Camera Obscura
What’s your opinion of Landry’s work?