Subhrangsu Mukherjee photography
It was mid-seventy of the last century when I was in my primary school, I might have seen first how a camera looks. In any of our family occasions one of my elder cousin was called to capture the events. I used to stare with full of wonder to him who used to take snaps by a 35 mm SLR camera and a Mecablitz flash gun. After few days when he used to come back with the negative strip and all black & white prints, all of us used to rush to see those images with great enthusiasm and interest. I still nurture those unforgettable moments to see the black and white images printed on Agfa printing paper.
That was an age of analog camera. That was a totally different world where owning a SLR camera was a pride. People used to respect them who know how to use a SLR camera. SLR cameras were not easily available in the open market. Aperture, shutter speed, film speed etc were not at all very common words. Camera itself was a black box. Apart from very few, photography schools were out of thought. Those who had the knowledge of the subject were considered as privileged class.
He had a 35 mm Nikon FM2 SLR camera and we had all B&W photographs. No one dare to touch the camera and it was a full of surprise in those clicking sounds in our childhood. Cartridge films were required to be loaded to photograph. Developing of the exposed films, and printing those on the photo chromatic papers were another area of surprise. With the arising of numerous queries in the mind, the inquisitiveness about photography was developing day by day……….
......... and thus I got interested to know how to write the images with light.
Unfortunately we did not have any camera at our home. Though I was getting interest in the subject I need to hold it till the completion of my intermediate. There was no internet, no computer and no mobile phones.
When I was in standard IX, my dad planned for a short trip to Kashmir during my summer vacation. Kashmir being one of the most beautiful nature’s paradise, we wanted to capture the memories of our travel. I was extremely excited when he asked me whether I can take photographs if a camera can be arranged. My father borrowed a miniature 120mm camera (Click III) from one of his friend (SLR camera was out of question). As because no one ever used any camera in my family, we went to a local studio to learn how to handle a miniature camera with films.
The man in the studio taught me.
“Hey brother look, this is where you should look through, the viewfinder.” Then he explained how to open the sealed ORWO 120 mm film. Showed me how to load, wind, rewind and to remove the exposed spool. Repeatedly he told not to open the back lid under the direct sunlight. To ensure the locking of the film lead, and to check the reverse rotation of the rewinding knob while forwarding the film to ensure correct loading.
I was listening his all instructions and memorizing all the comas, semi-colons and full stop he uttered.
After coming back to home I spent a lot of time with that black box, observing all the components in details, looked through the lens and try to figure out the image if visible.
We bought three Kodak film cartridges. The film had pink paperback. I exposed all the films during the trip following all the instructions I received and trying composing the best I can. But the actual anxiety was yet to be felt when those are given to the studio for developing and printing.
My dad didn’t want to waste money. So as per the advice of the studio owner we first ordered the contact sheet printing of all the photographs. The day when he was supposed to deliver the prints I was unable to hold my tension. But to my surprise the photographs were excellent and beyond my expectation. My expert elder brother praised me seeing those photographs …… I was overwhelmed and the journey of my passion begins……..