History of photography and Photojournalism in Nepal

History of Photography and Photojournalism in Nepal

Photography Definition

The art or practice of capturing and processing images is simply defined as photography. Similarly, photo development is the discipline of creating pictures by the action of radiation. Particularly light, on a sensitive surface (such as film or an optical sensor).

History of Photography

Sadly, no single document dates exactly back to link photography and its evolution in Nepal. Mostly, the history of photography evidently links to some pages in old newspapers and books dating back some two hundred years.

Back then, photography was essentially very inaccessible to the general crowd. And only royalties were resourceful enough to get portrayed and documented.

Likewise, a British explorer Clarence Comyn Taylor is considered to be the first-ever photographer. He has captured the palaces in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur. And then only in 1850, Kunwar Dambar Shumsher is considered the very first photographer from Nepal. 

Dambar Shamsher then taught the art of photography to his cousin’s brother Gahendra Shumsher. He taught it to his colleague Mr. Purna Man Chitrakar. After Purna Man Chitrakar, photography got introduced to the general public via his son Mr. Gopal Chitrakar. Later many newspapers started photography as an evidential source for printed media which ultimately introduced photojournalism in the Nepalese environment.

First Camera in Nepal

History isn’t clear about who brought the first camera to Nepal, but people along with historians believe that PM. Jung Bahadur Rana brought the first camera when he visited England for the first time in 1850.

Professional Photography

Bishnu Dhoj Joshi, the then General Manager of Gorkhapatra. He established a Grand Studio in 1909, which was subsequently relocated to New Road and is regarded as Nepal’s oldest public studio.

It was quite popular at the time. Prime ministers, ministers, and notable figures all came to have their photos shot there. Bishnu Dhoj was an apprentice of Summer Shumsher, the father of Balkrishna Sama.

Famous people who popularised photography in Nepal and made it accessible to the general public links to Mr. Purna Man Chitrakar, Chandra Nanda Raj Vaidya, Dwarika Das Shrestha, Narendra Lal Maskey, and many more. But as the data providing details are scarce, we can’t exactly point these details out.

Pioneers of Photography in Nepal

At first, photography was only limited to kings and royalties. Slowly, people closer to kings and ministers got hold of the gare. Only then did the locals start using the camera and captured some memorable photographs.  So, here are several photographers who set the stepping stone to Nepalese photography worth mentioning:

Mr. Purna Man Chitrakar 1863-1939

Reportedly, Purna Man Chitrakar was an influential early photographer who was first taught the basics of photography by Dambar Shamsher and Gehendra Shamsher.

Later the Rana family sent Purna Man to Calcutta to study photography in the 1880s. They further learned to use the camera from Neel Madhaba Deen, a Bengali photographer, many learned photographs under Purna Man.

Following that Mr. Chakra Bahadur Kayastha and three of his sons further flourished Nepalese photography culture. And many such as Tej, Darsan, and Sahilu; Madan and Sri Man Kayastha.

Gyan Bahadur Karmacharya and his brother Shanta Bahadur, Narayan Prasad Joshi, Pashupati Lal Shrestha, Bharat Shrestha, and Tirath Raj Manandhar, Govind Vaidya, Bishnu Dhoj Joshi, and his son Hiranya Dhoj all learned the skill from the Kayastha family.

Dwarika Das Shrestha

An aspiring businessman who was a law graduate in the 50s, Hotelier Dwarika Das Shrestha( owns Dwarika Hotel) also was a photo enthusiast.

He had picked the skill from India. He was not only one of the pioneers of the hotel business, but he also was a good photographer who ran a professional photo studio.

First Graphic photograph Published in Newspaper

Gorkhapatra published a picture of a girl using charkha back in 1927. Which is believed to be the first-ever journalistic approach that featured the general public. And the first-ever printed photograph in Gorkhapatra was published in 1926 which featured Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher on his birthday.

So, there is no actual evidence to support the claims about the person behind the camera clicking his photograph. But this photo is considered the first-ever photograph used for journalism purposes.

What is Photo Journalism?

The technique of using photos to convey any social message. To be more clear, Photojournalism is a method of using images to convey the tale of a significant historic event. 

Photojournalism should be as impartial and honest as possible, and catching genuine moments as they unfold is more vital than producing beautiful photographs. Photojournalists typically attend scheduled events in the hopes of capturing spontaneous, unscripted moments. Their work is frequently featured in publications and newspapers.

History of Photojournalism

Photojournalism in Nepal began on April 25, 1927 (Baisakh 13, 1984 BS), when a photograph was published in Gorkhapatra for the first time. Since 2004, the NFPJ has decided to commemorate this momentous day each year by hosting a press picture show.

The Similarity between Photography and Photojournalism

As photography and photojournalism, both concern the art of capturing a moment both have many similarities. Documenting anything on the basis of photography is the main objective of both genres. 

Every photo should tell the truth and show its reality. The goal for both genres is to inform the viewer of certain events or topics. The procedure in both cases remains the same, as both of the approaches are concerned with the picture and its documentation.

Likewise, both forms involve the art of taking a picture with a camera. Photojournalism however is slightly different as its objective is to use the photographs to report news stories and sometimes to use them as evidence.

Difference between  Photography and Photojournalism

Though they might be more similar than different, these two aspects carry a completely different essence. Photography is more like artwork, flaunting the story in a frame whereas photojournalism is more story-oriented and focused on showing the situation’s true current scenario. 

Photojournalism is used to document the scenario and is unaffected by the environment but a photograph is all about capturing the right environment for good. Though there are many photojournalists involved in photography.

Most photojournalism is more challenging these days because anyone and everyone with a smartphone can record/snap and report the situation.

Types of Photography

Universally, Photography is divided into seven broad categories. People sometimes mix two or more concepts to create more influential artworks as well. The well-known genres of photography are Portrait Photography, Photojournalism, Fashion Photography, Sports Photography, Still Life Photography, Street Photography, and architectural photography. So, let’s briefly talk about these genres of photography here:

  1. Portrait Photography
    These pictures capture an individual/group personality and mood. Photos are commonly posed, but they are also full body and even candid.
  2. Photojournalism
    Photojournalism is a kind of journalism in which a narrative is communicated mostly via photographs, with little or no text.
  3. Fashion Photography
    Fashion photography is a photographic genre that focuses on presenting apparel and other fashion goods. Fashion photography is often done for ads or fashion publications.
  1. Sports Photography
    Sports photography refers to the genre of photography that covers all types of sports. They basically take fast-action photographs at sporting events.
  2. Still Life Photography (Product Photography)
    Still, life photography is a genre of photography used for the depiction of inanimate subject matter, typically a small group of objects. This skill is considered as a basis for Product photography used by many small to big online sales agents throughout the internet platform.
  3. Street Photography
    Street photography is a type of photography that captures ordinary life in a public setting. Because of the open nature of the scene, the photographer is free to shoot candid photographs of strangers, frequently without their awareness.
  4.  Architectural photography
    Architectural photography is the professional practice of photographing buildings and other architectural structures. Their images are frequently meant for commercial use. For the developer to distribute online or in brochures, or for the project team’s portfolios

Top photographers of Nepal:

Basically, Pro-photo Journalists in Nepal are also the top photographers. Now, Skanda Gautam, Navesh Chitrakar, Photokhichuwa, Kishor Kayastha, Sanjog Manandhar, Bijay Maharjan, and Nipurna Bajracharya are leading the scene.

Among these Photoknichuwa is pretty active on Social platforms. Whereas Skanda Gautam and Navesh Chitrakar are basically street and art photographers. Likewise, Navesh and Kishor are still carrying on their family profession. As well as Sanjog Manandhar is a famous wedding photographer in Nepal.

Photography in Nepal has now seen huge growth, and the country has a huge prospect for landscape to street photography. The nation lacked a marketplace to buy and sell photographs taken by various photographers to the general masses. That’s why Dhansar.com, the only stock photography site in Nepal came into existence.

Dhansar provides a market for Stock Photography In Nepal. The site consists of various old to new pictures that can be on the pages of your book to assignments.

So, if you are a photography enthusiast, you can get along with Dhansar and make a few bucks out of your passion. Create with Dhansar and fuel your passion by getting paid for your photographic artwork as well.

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