Filipino photographer Jovel Lorenzo started his career as a magazine lensman back in 2001 using a Nikon FM2 and a medium format cam. When photography switched to digital, he found himself losing interest in the craft – doing shoots only as a job and less as a passion.
When the pandemic hit, Jovel rediscovered photography when he saw the street box camera online. For months, he would do his research on how to build his own gear. Because of the lockdown, he found it difficult to find materials which meant he had to do everything on his own: Measure and saw wood, chisel, and build the cam’s mechanism. He had all the time to build his box with focus.
Jovel found the street box camera exciting because it is a camera and darkroom that can produce a print in minutes. He fell in love not only with its timeless process but also the results that are uniquely its own – poignant pictures that are hard to produce with digital or other analog cameras.
His first major project with the street box camera is a 14-portrait series called the “Island Quarantine Series” which captured island life during the pandemic. Jovel also did his Art Series, capturing trademark Filipino scenes. He did this with his second box camera which produced 11×11 images.
Jovel plans to make this his legacy, being the only Filipino today who uses a street box camera. He hopes more young Filipinos would discover this unique craft and grow a community that uses this one-of-a-kind instrument. Mabuhay!