Modern Use

Traditional Ruh Khitch

Traditional Ruh Khitch is a way in which black and white photographs can be taken, printed and sold to a client without a studio or darkroom. It was practised throughout the twentieth century by photographers who worked on the pavement near government offices where passport size portraits were needed for and at tourist attractions. Ruh Khitch, translated from Punjabi as 'Spirit Pulling', refers to the way the photographer puts his hand inside the camera and pulls out the photograph.

The camera is just large enough to contain a focusing screen and two trays of photographic chemicals; a developer and fixer. This mini darkroom/camera combo allows an image to be shot, on photographic paper, and processed within two minutes. Being able to judge the exposure by examining the negative is an important feature in a camera that has no shutter. The lenses usually came from an old enlarger and the exposure times are between 1 and 4 seconds. This means all photographs are taken with the cooperation of the subject who has to remain as still as possible during the exposure.


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