I have been photographing for 35 plus years various aspects of photography, including over 7 years of training and work experience in Celle near Hannover, Germany (West) under Mr. Detlev van Eupen - van Eupen Werbe Fotografie.
In 1956 photography for me started as a childhood hobby with a Kodak Bunny 126 format camera from an army canteen. This point & shoot camera had no controls except a shutter button. It was still fun shooting friends, mountains, clouds, etc. in Mussoorie. Our boarding school had no day scholars. All days were activity filled - study, sports, dramatics, carpentry, art & crafts. Participation was a MUST. One English teacher who himself was a serious amateur owning a Leica M4 started a photography club for those who owned a camera. The world of photography was introduced to us in a small way when we developed films and made contact sheets. These were magical moments for us when we saw images building up.
The smell of hypo stuck to my fingers making me more passionate about photography. The photography club closed when the teacher Mr. Malan left school for better prospects. I kept my passion alive by hand colouring black & white prints, reading books and shooting more. A year before I left for Germany I got a Russian reflex camera - Zorky. There was one 120 format Voigtlander but light leaked into it and it was of hardly any use. In Germany I was able to buy me a SLR Yashica Electro X (if not mistaken with model). Slowly I added a small darkroom kit and restarted doing my processing & printing. I got a break when an advertising and industrial photographer, Mr. Detlev van Eupen, put in a advertisement looking for an assistant and with these samples I was got successfully employed and remained till the last day of my stay in Germany. A well equipped Studio with cameras from 35mm to 8x10 inches, a modern lab with large format BW and colour enlargers. An assortment of printing papers that were used I have never seen being sold in Indian market. Working alone with him was a blessing in disguise since I had to assist and many a times handle photography on my own. I was in total control of the lab. My paid holidays I spent by joining one or the other workshops/short courses held in various photography schools. Here many working or freelancing photographers joined to enhance or update the knowledge. We added a single colour Heidelberg offset machine to widen our services.
We had lots of clients from biscuit companies to heavy industries. For larger part of the year we shot pictures for color wrappers of the biscuit companies - XOX and Trüller. The work was very precise as each and every product element had to be rightly placed in the picture composition as per the layout. It was all shot on 8x10", 5x7" and 9x12 cm formats. The biggest format was used for offset printing of wrappers and hoardings, the smaller formats for print publicity and color prints for distribution. It was a feast all the time round the year with the fresh out of oven confectionery tasted well in advance of the season it was meant to be marketed.
Besides this we had clients from the lamp, highly polished brass, fashion garments, furniture, television, flute and ready made house industries. Another exacting work was for Vetco. They made various instruments for the drilling industry like the oil fields. We use to receive segments of pipes that came to them from the oil fields and other areas of drilling. We documented the wear tear by correctly recording the colours, scratches and other marks of damage, etc on the sections of oil drilling pipes for scientific study and evaluation. I do feel that the acute sense of both artificial and available lighting developed while handling such kind of exact work on a regular basis.
I was permitted to freelance for reportage work in my free time. On the basis of my street photography portfolio and other photographic body of work, I got listed on the panel of the local newspaper - Cellesche Zeitung - as a freelance photographer. Since I was available only in the evenings, quite a lot of assignments were assigned to me. I was called on a regular basis to cover many prestigious assignments for the newspaper to be published as front page pictures like the visit of Mr. Willy Brandt, Mr. Helmut Kohl and other city functions.
At the fag end of 1977 I returned to India unscheduled to give attention to my family business interests. I continued to keep myself busy with photography taking time out of the family business to pick up assignments for various industries.
I have handled various aspects of photography over these past years from photo journalism, travel, industrial, outdoors and indoors, fashion, advertising, food, product, catalog/still life, etc. dealing directly with clients.
Just to name a few of my professional associations: Freelance photo reporter with Cellesche Zeitung a daily newspaper of Celle Germany; Department of Space (various earth stations and installations in Delhi & UP), Himachal Pradesh Electricity Board (Andhra Hydroelectric Project, Chirgaon and Bhabha Hydroelectric Project, Kinnaur); National Institute of Fashion Technology (educational slides, documentation of Resource Center, fashion shoots and as a visiting guest faculty for basics photography), New Delhi; Pearl Academy of Fashion (educational slides and fashion shoots), Delhi; Himachal Pradesh State Handloom & Handicrafts Weavers Apex Cooperative Society Ltd. (Himbunkar) (catalog photography of their products ), Kulu; Telco, Delhi; Taj Palace, New Delhi; Mastermind Advertising; Louishoppe (exclusive furniture); Candleshoppe (exclusive perfumed designer candles); Something Special (export fashion wear and decorative products for catalog and exhibition prints); Lal Behari Tandon (Chikan); Wild Orchid (fashion wear); Whorra Enterprises (silver and white metal niche designer products); The Gondals Press; Genesis Overseas Pvt. Ltd. (Satya Paul); Good Relations; Genesis PR; Ego Restaurant; Rico Auto Engineering; DD International Inc.; JJ Foams; Portrait Advertising; M.J. Engineering Works; Trendsmith; Bal Kishan Tires, Hira Sweets, Corsets Deal,..........
My best efforts have been to keep myself updated with photographic technological developments, editing softwares, web / internet designing tools. I am currently using Canon 5D Mark II digital camera.
Held photography workshops on invites from I.I.T., Kanpur; I.P. College, Delhi; etc.
Juried photography competitions.
1. * Maha Kumbh 2013 Joint exhibition - Mr. Pavan Mehta October 22, 2013, Aparna Caur Gallery, New Delhi.
2. * November 16 to 30, 2013 - Dharohar Museum Kurukshetra
3. * Astonishing Beauty of Ladakh Joint Exhibition- Pavan Mehta December 20th. to 25th., 2013 at Aparna Caur Gallery, New Delhi
4, * Cultural Tourism in India - Photo exhibition by RCSC & FIPA, August 13, 2014 New Delhi.