Camera Day: Freezing the time
On Camera Day, HT talks to photographers from the tricity about the history and legacy of the gadgetUpdated: Jun 29, 2018 10:50 IST
Camera. It has a different meaning to everyone. To some, it’s just another gadget, to others, it’s their bread and butter, and for a select few, it’s their soul. But for all, it is a means to collect and restore memories, history and legacy.
So, to remember the importance of photographs, camera and its invention in people’s lives, June 29 is celebrated as Camera Day. The day is dedicated towards ‘celebrating the gift of being able to communicate through this powerful visual medium.’
THROUGH THE LENS
American advertising and documentary photographer Elliott Erwitt once said, “Photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
For 37-year-old wedding photographer, Avinash Shorey, “Photography is an art that can never seize to exist. The technology will change, the subject and the eye behind the lens might change, but the art itself will always remain.”
Photo enthusiast Karanvir Dhiman, 31, says, “For me, a good photograph is like a perfect meal that is well presented, has all essential components and tastes heavenly. My grandfather started this collection. One summer vacation, back in 2007, I was visiting him in Chandigarh, and chanced upon his collection of photographs. I was amazed to see all those black-and-white pictures. And since then, I have continued to add to the collection.”
- Act immediately: As soon as you find old photographs and notice odd stains on it, act immediately.
- Prioritise: When choosing to restore photos, identify whether a picture is important to your family, or people. You can always have the remaining pictures digitally scanned.
- Digitise the old snapshots: Old photos make interesting memories. Instead of taking any risks, have all the pictures professionally scanned.
- Save the originals: Technological advances allow us to perform picture editing and printing, but the old semi-damaged photos have much more emotional value, and should be treated with respect.
- Proper storage: Keeping the pictures away from poor environmental conditions and store them in a dry cool spot.
Suresh Kumar, 72, and his wife Neena Sharma, 66, are working day in and day out to maintain a slice of history at their humble little place, Indiano Studios, in Sector 17, Chandigarh. The couple has a collection of over 400 models of cameras, camera accessories, photo films, flashes, tapes, and much more. The oldest camera they have is a 1895 American make Kodak Pocket 3A B2 model.
Kumar says he chanced upon photography when he could not continue his studies due to eye herpes in his youth. His brother, an architect by profession, owned a camera that Kumar started using and eventually went on to use for architectural and industrial photography.
Of all the cameras he owns, a Bronica SQA model is his favourite one. His wife, who is a retired bank official, helps in maintaining proper record of their rare collection.
The duo says that they wish to give the cameras to some government institution if they are promised that professionals are hired to take good care of the collection.
“I love collecting cameras of different make. Two cameras closest to my heart include a Nikon camera that was used during the Vietnam war, and a Hasslelblad telephoto camera that I first used to click a wide angle shot of the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA) in Sector 10,” says Tejbans Jauhar, who owns Tajees Studio-17 at Sector 17, Chandigarh.
- Pre-visualise: Mentally picture the final product of your shot. Remember the rule of thirds.
- Use apt lens: Try to use wide lenses for landscape shots when you want to create an impact. Similarly, use a telephoto lens when you are shooting portraits to reduce distortion.
- Sharpen the subject: Keep the primary subject sharp. Clear details in an image draw more eyes towards a photo.
- Keep it simple: A background makes or breaks a perfect shot. Be careful about how you place the subject. Keep the background clean, simple and clutter-free.
- Proper lighting: Stand with your back to the sun and with its light falling on your subject, unless you want to do an artistic play of light and dark.
- Do not overdo shots: Unless you are taking action shots or time lapse photos, try to reduce the number of clicks. Don’t use your camera like a machine gun.
- Exposure: If a photo is too light or dark, adjust the lens dial for required exposure.
- Flash: Use it only when absolutely necessary. Do not use it just for the sake of it.
- White Balance: Most cameras have automatic white balancing options. If it’s not satisfactory to you, the simple trick is to place a plane white paper in front of the lens and focus on it.
- Use tripods: Sometimes, the best way to get a perfect shot is to take extra time. Using tripod will allow you to do framing without your hands shaking too much
THAT’S HOW WE ROLL
Be it the reel or the real world, the camera technology is ever evolving. Today even mobile phones have HD quality in-built cameras. While some find this amazing, others express their dislike.
“So many images are lost with time as not many know about photo restoration. Not only is nobody developing photo anymore, only a handful are preserving the old albums. Photography has also become a victim of the instant-result seeking society and camera phones. Photography has now been turned into a mindless hobby, all people care about is the number of likes the posts get,” says Anamika Choudhury, 59, whose father was a photojournalist.
But Rishabh Khatri, a 20-year-old photography student, disagrees. “I love that every person now has the power to become a photographer. All you need is a good camera phone and an eye for composition. After all ‘It is the photographer, and not the camera that is the instrument’,” says.
Sidharth Khare, a 26-year-old fashion photographer, believes both the photographer’s skills and equipment are equally crucial for good photography. Even to click a like-worthy no-filter picture, one needs to have basic knowledge about lens, focus, aperture, exposure, ISO, etc. Whether one uses a camera or a cell phone, s/he has to be quality conscious.”
LIFE THROUGH CHANGING LENSES
“My grandfather owned a 1925 Leica I model which is still there in our ancestral place at Mantur in Hubli. Back in my college days, I used to own a polaroid camera. The charm of photography was quite different then. But now I own a Canon DSLR and am quite happily still clicking away,” adds Choudhury.
“Photography is our family business. My grandmother’s brother was a photographer back in the 1940s. He has seen the independence struggle through his lens. When we were kids, he used to show us those pictures and tell stories about the freedom fight. I wish we had knowledge about photo restoration back then so that I could have preserved his glorious work,” says Kailash Mishra, a third-generation photographer.