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MASHRABIYA STORIES: 

HUDA ABDULMUGHNI and the local ecology 

Kuwaiti photographer Huda Abdulmughni started experimenting with polaroid transfer photography during the first few months of the Covid 19 pandemic. Her objective was to connect to the local ecology through photography (no social distancing required!).

What inspired you to photograph and print plants and flowers? 

HA: During the lockdown I started to notice trees in my garden in ways I hadn't before. I knew neither the names nor much information about them. I decided to create a book of photos to learn more about plants using a photography technique called polaroid transfer.

Can you describe the technique?  

HA: Polaroid transfer is a technique that transfers the image from a Polaroid instant print onto paper, among other things. In my case, I used a polaroid land camera from the 1960's.  With it, I used Fujifilm 100c.   

How did you learn the technique? 

HA: I found the instructions on Youtube. In terms of equipment, you need: bleach, a roller to flatten the image, a camera, film and brush. The technique allows you to create 3 prints from one image.  After taking the photograph, you peel the paper and stick the negative on the paper for about 1 minute and the image will be printed. The second image is from bleaching the negative. You put some bleach on a glass and brush it until you get a negative. You then scan it and get the digital print.  The third print is the original image on the paper.

What were the challenges you faced?  

HA: You never know the final result. Sometimes it doesn't come out as expected. 

What did you learn from the process?  

HA: I learned about the plants, their flowering season; which fruits can grow in Kuwait. Some plants photograph better than others. The bigger leaves photograph better for instance.  Using an old camera and film processing is a great way to connect with the art of image creation. I love the handmade aspect of it, it is both an art and a craft.

"Using an old camera and processing film is a great way to connect with the art of image creation."
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