Ru Kitch, Street Photography From The Punjab (1950-2000)

Copyright Gogi PehlwanCopyright Gogi PehlwanCopyright Gogi PehlwanCopyright Mohammad Amin Naveed

Until fifteen years ago the Ru Kitch photographers were a familiar sight on the streets of Pakistan. For the odd penny they photographed passers-by, in black and white, with the results available immediately. The term Ru Kitch – literally ‘extracting the spirit’ – refers to the way in which the photographer stuck his hand into the camera in order to pull out the photograph. In fact the camera was a darkroom on a tripod, in which a photo could be developed in two minutes. The popularity of the color photo drove this century-old tradition from the street scene. The British photographer Malcolm Hutcheson prepared this survey of it.

Copyright Mohammad Amin NaveedCopyright Mohammad Amin Naveed

RU KITCH, STREET PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE PUNJAB (1950-2000) was part of the 13th Noorderlicht International Photofestival (Sep-Oct 2006, The Netherlands), comprised of work by three Ru Kitch photographers, of whom only Mohammad Amin Naveed is still active. In the old days, passers-by, friends and families were eager to have him do a photograph of them as a souvenir of a day out. Now he makes his living by pasting portraits of his clients on pictures of famous names from the film industry. Naveed turned out to have in his possession a dusty box with work of his late uncle Gogi Pehlwan. He was active for forty years as a wrestler and Ru Kitch photographer. Hutcheson fills out his overview with the work of old Babba Bhutta, who was a Ru Kitch photographer for sixty years. He learned his trade from his father and has a collection of photos that perfectly reflects the peaceful life in a small Indian village.

Copyright Babba BhuttaCopyright Babba Bhutta

Malcolm Hutcheson (Great Britain/Pakistan, b. 1966) is a photographer and teaches photography at the school for Visual Arts in Lahore, Pakistan. He devotes a huge amount of energy to setting up a photographic archive for the Pakistani province of Punjab.

Copyright Babba Bhutta

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