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‘Super-teacher’ of photography – Tirtha Dasgupta

1 August, 2020 21:40:47
‘Super-teacher’ of photography – Tirtha Dasgupta

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”
– Dorothea Lange

A little boy was fascinated by the art of photography when he realized the immense power of the medium to capture a moment for posterity. He was drawn into the mysterious world of light and darkness that played havoc with his imagination. All he needed was a camera now. He started saving his pocket money until he had enough to buy a basic German camera. After he got his prized possession, he went around, clicking pictures at random. He often frequented a local photography studio-cum-shop and sat there for hours observing the man at work. During those pensive hours, he mused about vital aspects of photography like how to identify the right frame for a particular photograph or how to get the human touch in the characters juxtaposed in a picture frame. What’s the secret behind the perfect click? The boyhood wonder has remained with the man, now well past his sixties. He is Tirtha Dasgupta. Wayne Miller had once said, “I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs.” 

Dasgupta’s life-long passion not only inspired him to take brilliant photographs but it also transformed him into a revered teacher of photography. His expertise has been commended globally and he has received accolades from the US as well. Dasgupta hails from Shaktigarh in Siliguri. He teaches photography to enthusiasts in his flat at Shaktigarh.  Born in Shillong, his family migrated to Kolkata where he had his education. He spent most of his professional life in Delhi as a government of India photographer but simultaneously, he has been teaching the craft at his photography school.  

Dasgupta has done his PhD on photography. He insists that being a good photographer is more than just mastering your camera or owning the latest and most expensive camera gear—it’s about the inherent qualities that allow you to see beauty in the most unexpected places and capture that beauty in a photograph. He defines photography as a medium of art and the artist makes a conscious effort to capture the essence of a moment. One must strive to attain the melting point of visual art and photography. One must know the science behind photography, familiarize with the mechanism of a camera, know about illumination, basics of optic physics, different lens, their function etc. Developing and bromide printing requires knowledge of chemistry as well. The photographer should also have an aesthetic eye to see beauty amid ordinariness and compose the perfect shot. Above all, an aspiring photographer should inculcate certain qualities and these include, a creative mind—and plenty of imagination because photography is after all, a form of art, a good photographer must have a very keen eye for detail to ensure that all elements within the photo—the lighting, the composition, the subject, and everything else in between—work together harmoniously to convey the right vision or message, patience and flexibility, good people skill and the most vital aspect of them all, a passion for photography.

Dasgupta ran into renowned photographer and Padmashree-awardee T.Kasinath, Prannath Mehra and K.G Maheshwari but he was trained by the doyen of photography, Benu Sen. He worked as scientific photographer in the Kolkata Forensic Science Laboratory for many years before he went to New Delhi where he worked as photo officer-in-charge at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Central Photo Lab.   

Dasgupta’s flat at Siliguri has now transformed into a photography museum that houses rare photographs and early models of cameras, including one wooden camera! He exhibited his rare collection a couple of months ago at Dinabandhu Mancha in Siliguri.   

Dasgupta is held in very high esteem by the photographers’ community and is referred as a ‘Super Teacher.’ He has been honoured with many national and international awards. He is a member of the prestigious Royal Photography Society of America. He is also the director of Fototechnik, the photography school he set in New Delhi and Siliguri. Photography is Dasgupta is passionately attached to his art, that is, photography. He believes a trained and disciplined approach to photography helps to see and approach a subject in a more focused manner. Trained eyes can spot aesthetics even in the most mundane of things. The world of photography is vast and there are myriad ways to explore this medium. He says, these days, some professional institutes offer online photography classes but that can never substitute a proper training. He is keen to teach photographers all that he has learnt in his lifetime and spread his experience and knowledge among the youngsters. 

Story Tag:
  • Photography, Teacher

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