Foma photo papers

14 Jul
#20x24 #foma photo paper, testing out a different brand, still RC paper #resincoated but included some FB paper #fiberbased to test some positive prints #kantaportraits #kantaboxkamra #instudio25 thanks Foma Malaysia

13 Jul
tonight's pickup, foma from Chech Rep. testing out other alternative from an independent distributor Foma Malaysia! tomorrow expecting delivery for #20x24



IN THE MEDIA; Meet your Makers

short video on 'Meet your Makers' featuring the building aspect of the cameras. shot during the recent exhibition where i've set up the biggest build so far #7BilikObscura. great chance that they were there to document it! thanks Daily Rojak team!


Build; Shelf/ worktable

new shelf & table unit for kanta. the fourth shelving work table I have for the project. I need more shelves


New stock arrives

new fresh stock arrives, replenish my old "expired" "discounted-price" stock. RM$2,000++ worth of photo chemicals & papers, and I still haven't bought #20x24 for my large prints! (that's another 2grand!) no more cheap rates, people of KL, sorry :( also this means I've done more than a thousand prints! that's perhaps 500 portraits #KantaPortraits ok it's getting very serious now!
10 boxes 3.5 x 5.5" (100pc) RC gloss about RM 800
1 box 20 x 24" (15pc) FB art paper RM900
5 liter MultiDev RM200
5 liter Ilfo fix RM200


#KantaBorneo Miri & Keningau

2nd excursion Miri, Keningau #KantaBorneo visiting Miri, Sarawak and Keningau, Sabah. Just locked down the dates (begin Aug) My first to Sarawak, through Miri. Heading down south west, meeting Teachers and making demonstrations along the way. If we're lucky, join in a Tamu or visit some longhouses too. Huda as my guide. Keningau through JOAS/ PAKOS for Hari Orang Asal/ Indigenous People day #KantaBoxKamra #KantaPortraits #instudio25


South of Miri

Southwest of Kota Kinabalu


BUILD #7BilikObscura

Taking down the room camera


<picture caption> the insides of camera #7BilikObscura wet bench on the left, 'dry' bench on the right

12 June; KANTA exhibition ended yesterday; taking down of camera #7BilikObscura #20x24 #16x20, biggest camera-build I've attempted. Thank you to the many apprentices for the support, the journey of learning through doing and the many people who came and sat through patiently, experiencing the process together. Need to make some improvements and upgrade some processes, but overall it is a success #KantaPortraits #KantaBoxKamra #instudio25

11 June; One of the kind print, what I call the #firstsheet. One of my oldest designer colleague & good friend, Alex. I use expired paper, for one reason that they're cheaper (struggling artist), but another important aspect, the papers have unique characters and effects, silver have 'crystalised' and in this case, stuck to the plastic bag being the first sheet in the bag, giving interesting streaking patterns to the print. Camera #7bilikobscura #16x20 #kantaboxkamra #kantaportraits @instudio25 #photography #bwphotography #Repost @huwe

11 June; Was only able to do 5 demonstrations a day on the weekend, and sometimes by chance we have an open slot, or it just so happens, time allows us to meet. As random as Kuala Lumpur is, we all have stories and the more we share with each other, we find we have so much in common. Have a conversation Malaysia.

#REPOST @lilyjamaflyTime moves in circles. Old styles come back in fashion. The same mistakes are made over and over again to teach the same lessons. And our own faces tend to repeat themselves.

As we took this photo, my mom told us about the last time she saw a camera like this. In the 1960s the government deployed photographers to little kampungs around the country to take IC photos for the "first" Malaysians, fresh out of independence.

Thank you Jeffrey @instudio25 and the Kanta box team for taking this lovely portrait of us! I'm in love with it. And grateful that you managed to squeeze us in on your last day. #kantaboxkamra #KantaPortraits

11 June; "This is your radiance." He said the camera, this paper, alkaline and acidic solutions work together to capture your radiance and the light around you. Because science proves that all humans emit light. It is a collaboration.

Making this photograph was a magical experience. Jeffrey and his team talked me through every second of sitting down keeping my eyes and head in the direction we've chosen, staying still, conserving energy to hold one moment absolutely still. In that moment, against all posing ideas, my entire body decided to burst into a toothy grin. And the moment was gone. We went into the dark room and Jeffrey used his gloved hands to make a portrait out of paper while narrating how every step of bathing the paper and exposing it to light would bring my past moment to life.

This entire experience made me more conscious of who I am versus how I want to be seen.

Thank you Jeffrey and team, for your knowledge in this art and patiently working with me to achieve this photograph. Today is the final day for you to have this experience at Urbanscape House. Wait in line. #Repost @melizarani #kantaportraits #Kantaboxkamra

pic from faizul
demonstration on saturday
Danial, youngest sitter

preparing Meliza for portrait
image inside the camera

11 June; Instant portraits with Camera #7BilikObscura, a demonstration and walk through of the process, never had so many people inside my camera, and the youngest sitter ever, 6 month old Daniel #kantaportraits #Kantaboxkamra pics from various participants, thank you for the support

justin close up
preparation for close up

10 June; 10 June; #KantaPortraits with #7BilikObscura #roomcamera making portraits of @iamjustinlim #Kantaboxkamra #instudio25build thanks to @liankianlik for the pics!

first test run
room camera team

print caption; test prints, close focus cropped face (1st test), mid shot (3rd test), full body standing (2nd test)

7 June; Camera #7bilikobscura #20x24 our first successful test run. need some refinements but the print is awesome. thanks to the team work of Bronz, Ramizah, Ken, and Kanta/ Kamra operator loading assistant Nurul Huda. at the moment needs minimum of 2 to operate, I'm gonna try a procedure with only 1 operator. People have asked, Open for public, trial run portrait price at RM180. limited runs per day

7 June; camera #7bilikobscura full body portraits, something I've not worked with, probably cause of space constraints and lighting!, but with the #20x24 camera, it's a thing of beauty, here are 2 test I've taken so far. every shot is a first for me to solve and overcome, and it's been a pleasure to work with! managed to create a safe curtain so the #roomcamera can be operated by a single person! achievement unlocked! haha, literally a walk-in camera, my kinda studio

9 June– fully operational

6 June setup
1st sitter with print

2nd print
2 person print


6 June; say hello to camera build #7BilikObscura / #roomcamera the largest I've built so far. did 3 successful test prints. turned out amazing. abit more complex in terms of operations, but fundamentals are the same #Kantaboxkamra #kantaportraits exhibition

9 June; Camera build #7BilikObscura biggest I've built so far. Making negative exposures at #20x24 inches. Only around for the next few days, not sure when I'll get the chance to ever do it again. Catch it in action over the weekend, and if you'd really like an instant-portrait (you'll need to catch me at a good time). Trial run period RM180 #kantaportraits #Kantaboxkamra

2 June; Say hello to camera build #7BilikObscura (Room Obscura), name inspired from my old blog on darkroom http://www.bilikobscura.blogspot.com will be building a room-sized camera capable of shooting at 20x24" #kantaportraits #kantaboxkamra #bilikobscura will build and do a test print on Tuesday 6th June #cameraroom #20x24

31 May; will be attempting a build, room-sized camera, dubbed Bilik Obscura after my old blogspot http://bilikobscura.blogspot.my/

it will be my 7th build, featuring the 486mm projector lens and a painter's easel. It can print up to 20 x 24" for now as that's the limitations of the photo paper that i can get hold of now.


Exhibition: preparation work

Booklet- covers
Booklet- inside pages
Booklet- foldout index sheet

5 June; Exhibition booklet (foldout index sheet) Introduction to project & collaboration. Index of the 20 portraits, writeup of the sitters, and short description of the cameras on exhibit. limited print run, RM10. #KANTAboxkamra #kantaborneo #kantaportraits #instudio25


1 June; Making of a Silverprint Sheena Baharudin her light, she radiates, her likeness, emerges from the paper, as if magic. at 525% enlargement Silver Resin Coated paper. (leaking tray, my chemical level is low too so I had to handle the print)


1 June; Making of a Silverprint Poodien. made a couple of his prints some experiments on slight oxidation and solarising. 525% enlargement on Silver RC paper. (leaky tray and my chemical level is low too so i had to handle the print)

31 May; the apparatus (projector), in the early days of photography, cameras were used as projectors to make enlargements. it's like a reverse camera, rather than capturing, it projects light. Where the camera would be put up against a window, with a mirror reflecting the ambient sky light in-through the camera.

Here is the project's makeshift photo enlarger, combination of plate holder and projector lens about 700+mm for a 200% enlargement #kantaportraits #kantaboxkamra #instudio25build

31 May; Upcoming exhibition was initially proposed late last year by Kenny to include KANTA portraits. The project decided to only select portraits taken this year 2017 to be part of this collaboration. Most were taken in Kuala Lumpur, if not Greater Kuala Lumpur, of random people who happen to have their portrait taken at the setup booth. It will be an interesting juxtapose to Born In Malaysia 's approach in terms of portraiture photography. I hope you'll enjoy the prints and stories.

22 of more that 150 portraits were shortlisted and 20 hand-prints were made. A special apparatus (projector) was built to enable prints at 20 x 24" from #papernegatives that were smaller in size. 200% to 525% enlargement. It was no easy feat, with many sleepless nights. Results are some less satisfactory and some more pleasant. The short interviews for the captions were the most revealing and intimate. Thank you everyone for your kind support & participation #kantaportraits #kantaboxkamra #kantaborneo #5elecamm #instudio25build


June 4th to 11th Exhibition

Born in Malaysia– Portraits of Kuala Lumpur

Exhibition by Born In Malaysia/ Kenny Loh Photography ft. KANTA box kamra at RUANG by Think City

Portraits of Kuala Lumpur, a selection of photographs from Kenny Loh, featuring instant portraits (2017) from KANTA by Jeffrey Lim

This exhibit will also feature an instant portraiture option, both by Kenny using a digital EPSON printer and Jeff using the darkroom-based process. Portraits taken will be added to the exhibition.

Exhibition opening hours
Weekday 10am to 6pm
Weekend 12pm to 7pm
(Closed on Monday, 5th June)

*KANTA will be attempting to build a room-size instant camera, dubbed #7BilikObscura, which would be able to print at 20 x 24" (available for trial run from Tuesday, 6th June).
*a selection of 20 portraits exhibited by KANTA are selected from those taken this year, 2017

EXHIBITION June 4th to11th RUANG by Think City. Concentration and effort now go towards this short exhibition as a collaboration with Kenny Loh. On his 2nd installation with his thematic #BorninMalaysia #ragstoriches, this exhibit will be called #PeopleofKualaLumpur #instantportraits he has invited me to be part of this project.

I will be exhibiting portraits taken this year, from booths I've set up. trying my best to select and reproduce the prints, showcasing the beautiful people of KL. It is a growing exhibit, where instant portraits taken around the vicinity will also be added on throughout the exhibit duration, the weekend will feature the finale compilation. Kanta Box Kamra #1interchange and some of my other camera prototypes will be up on display.

I will also be attempting to build my latest concept camera, #7 (no working title yet) into the exhibit. What would be my largest ever, printing life size at 20x24". practically, it will be a room camera, one where you can step into entirely.

Art for Grabs, Urbanscapes

last planned booth for the year. Interesting crowd, 3rd time with Prototype #5 Element Camera #elecamm and almost standard procedure to invite the sitter into the dark box (room/tent).

Met amazing people of Kuala Lumpur, and of the world, heard talks on topics of consciousnes. The loveliest people of KL. Thank you everyone, and thanks to Bronz for her amazing assistance.

Bronz, aspiring fine art & student of life, Kamra assistant

Ming #allisamazing 
instant polaroid! hah! by Ming


Art Market; Kg. Attap, KL

"it's just a thing" small art market at Kg. Attap organised by chitoo. 29 & 30 April weekend. debuting a working prototype of the latest build. #6 Sphere Camera #spherecam a.k.a Gantua, pushing the concept of a camera, using a landscape lighting ball filled with water as a lens. A scaled up concept Spherical Aqua Lens after prototype #3 Bulb.

Fundraising for the next phase of project, traveling to East Malaysia #KantaBorneo #KantaBoxKamra at "It's Just a Thing" art gather/ market, come 29 & 30 April weekend

Prototype #1 Interchange, featuring interchange-able lens, smallest & most versatile, box kamra built. This mobile camera has been into the far jungles of Northern Belum, Central Pahang, Southern Endau Rompin, overseas to river mangroves of Sabah, to halfway round the world São Paulo, on land (car, bus, bicycle), on boat and in the air. (need to change the outer shell steel can and make some upgrades, but still going strong). 

Prototype #4 Woodie, the biggest Kamra Box built featuring dual format; horizontal/ vertical, limited changeable lens, easiest to operate, a stationary 'plaza-camera' (not the most mobile), also built to be reverse-able as an image projector. 

Prototype #5 Element Camera #elecamm the biggest camera format I've built. still going through it's trial run. Featuring a thrash bag as it's bellows, this build still holds true to the philosophy of using found and used materials & parts as it's make up while trying to be versatile and adaptive (although more specialised parts are used). It features some camera parts that are over a century old and using only the basic elements to projecting an image. It takes at a 10x12" format, vertical/ horizontal, a different build concept from the box series, this is the new range of cameras that #instudio25/build will be exploring with. Still processing instantly on-site, via a darktent, this camera will probably be making its trip to East Malaysia as a Mobile Studio Setup. (although not as mobile).

Debuting Prototype #6 Sphere Camera #spherecamm/ Gantua. The entire series of the new builds were based on this camera concept, utilising a Spherical Aqua Lens (much like prototype #3 Bulb). Made possible with the kind donation of the surveyor's tripod, aptly called 'Julia Stand' after the 'patron Nurzuliana Abd Aziz' and a few more edition and assistance, Magic Arm on loan from Helios Loo, making of the rear element frame with tools & guidance from Gan Siong King, "buy/token" of rear element window from Kb Wong/ @hsien from @Arcadia, and gift of wooden plate holder from K Azril Ismail. this 'camera' features a 6.5x8.5" format, which is a strange size, vertical only. Will be attempting portraits selectively through demonstrations only.

art market space
transport package
Prototype #1 Interchange, trusty camera
Prototype #6 #SphereCamm, #5 #EleCamm
Master Chan makes an appearance with Mahen

#5 Element Camera
#1 interchange

#4 Woodie
#6 Sphere Camera/ Gantua


BUILD #6 Gantua, a conceptual prototype

Making of a new build #6 Gantua. Although nothing new, this concept camera is based on prototype #3 Bulb, or the use of a Spherical Aqua Lens, one of the first patented lenses, and an interesting approach to using water in a bowl to refract light.

The major component of this build was actually the initial trigger/ inspiration to the new range of large format build concept. More updates soon

26 April– Dry run, with lens filled with water
mid April– building base mount
at market, as a display
setup with darkbox
first print made
- purchase 2x2" (measures 1.5"), rear element frame, build gan, mount rear element view frame. purchase tee nut. bolt & nut imperial threads. 

- prepared mounting on tripod leg. prepare plateholder with rattan shim, spacers (chopstick). bought acrylic sheets as plate holder spacers. 

- measure rear ground glass with plate holder length. difference in 2mm more for plate holder. +2mm to offset plate holder.

26 Apr- Front element, packaging fold solution with waste cardboard. spherical aqua lens rated at 274 to 300mm. Aperture size calculated to /f4 at 300/4=ø75mm. reinforce base with weaved hemp rope. fill with water, 4 rounds with yellow bucket with large funnel. use hand pump to remove water from lens. tripod stabilised with added weight.

Dry test run with imagery achieved, at 900mm from front lens/ aperture board, for 6.5x8.5" projection. lighting is fair, bright, focus is soft, hard to achieve sharp focus, suggest /f8 or 11 to achieve a degree of projectile sharpness. only a print exposure with flash lighting assistance to determine. top coat/ dark cloth not long enough for close focus. light leaks numerous.