Tuesday , 17 September 2019
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Black and white photography rules!

I remember the first photo I clicked. It was a black-and-white photo which I clicked on college analog camera Nikon FM10. Each frame was rationed so every photography student got equal number of shots, by our teacher Anthony D’Souza. So, were the bromide papers for final black-and-white print. So many things went into planning before the shoots right from what time of the day would we be clicking the pictures, accordingly one could choose the ISO 50 to 400, to chemicals that went into the developing and printing of the black-and-white film. Red light is tremendously important in a darkroom and so is the ability to see in dark as bromide paper is sensitive to light. One who has used and worked in darkroom (photo printing room) will know what I am talking about.
However, in today’s digital age, a photographer’s life is much easier. I love it this way too, but not without thanking of Homai Vyarawalla, the first Indian woman photographer who brought black-and-white photography to life with her work in documenting the history and political scenario during the British rule in India.
Margaret Bourke-White, another American women photographer of the 1950s documented the violence during India-Pakistan partition. She recorded streets littered with corpses, victims’ dead with open eyes, and refugee with vacant eyes. Her pictures screamed on the newspaper showing the world what India was going through. Besides, Bourke also clicked the most iconic image of Mahatma Gandhi with a spinning wheel in 1946. Her work on Partition is also seen in the novel titled ‘Train to Pakistan’, written by Khushwant Singh. It won’t be wrong if I say that Margaret’s images gave India a visual documentation of its history when photography was not so easy to handle, especially when black-and-white film was sensitive to blue light, not the reds and oranges. She solved the problem by bringing along magnesium flares which produce white light to light her scenes in dark especially her documentation of steel plant factories.
Palmarina Mascarhnes, our own first women photographer who photographed and managed a Hollywood studio in Panaji during the Portuguese rule is known for the best black-and-white images and portraits.
These women made history in the world of black-and-white photography when being a photographer was difficult and being a woman photographer was even tougher.
Every black-and-white photograph tells a story, speaks of emotions, and communicates the history of every passing second. I shall share a few examples of my work for the readers to enjoy.

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