History of photography and Photojournalism in Nepal

History of Photography and Photojournalism in Nepal

In simple words, photography is the art or practice of capturing moments into a photo. It is only possible due to the help of a camera. Nowadays, people capture the photo with the help of a smartphone too but not in a century back. This blog is all about the history of photography and photojournalism in Nepal.

History of Photography

It isn’t clear who brought the first camera to Nepal. People believe that PM. Jung Bahadur Rana brought the first camera when he visited England for the first time in 1850.

The history of photography evidently links to some pages in old newspapers and books dating back some two hundred years. At that time, photography was essentially inaccessible to the general people. Only royalties were resourceful enough to get portrayed and documented.

A British explorer named Clarence Comyn Taylor is considered to be the first-ever photographer to capture the palaces in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur. In 1850, Kunwar Dambar Shumsher, son of Prime Minister Dhir Shumher is considered the very first photographer from Nepal. 

Dambar Shamsher then taught the art to his cousin’s brother Gahendra Shumsher, who 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.

Photojournalism

Photojournalism can be understood as the technique of using photos to convey any social message. To be more clear, photojournalism is a method of telling a story or news with the help of photographs. It is one type of photography.

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 hope of capturing spontaneous, unscripted moments. Their work is frequently featured in publications and newspapers.

Beside photojournalism, some of the well-known types of photography are Portrait Photography, Fashion Photography, Sports Photography, Product Photography, Street Photography, and Architectural Photography.

History of Photojournalism in Nepal

Photojournalism in Nepal began in 1926 AD, when a photograph was published in Gorkhapatra for the first time.

In 1926, Gorkhapatra featured Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher on his birthday. There is no actual evidence to support the claims about the person behind the camera. This photo was considered the first-ever photograph used for journalism purposes.

After a year, in 1927, Gorkhapatra published a picture of a girl using charkha with the caption “Aafna kapaska bagaichama Shree Chandra Kamdhenu charkha dwara dhago kati raheki barsa 12 ki Birgunj basne Surya Mati Shresthani”. It is believed to be the first-ever journalistic approach that featured the general public. 

Since 2004, the NFPJ has decided to commemorate this momentous day each year by hosting a press picture show.

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 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 photography is all about capturing the right environment for good.

Though there are many photojournalists involved in photography, mostly photojournalism is more challenging these days because anyone with a smartphone can capture and report the situation.


Pioneers of Photography in Nepal

At first, photography was only limited to kings and royalties. Slowly, people closer to kings and ministers get access to photography gears. Only then did the locals start using the camera and captured some memorable photographs.

Here are several photographers who set the stepping stone to Nepalese photography.

Mr. Purna Man Chitrakar

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. Further, he learned to use the camera from Neel Madhaba Deen, a Bengali photographer. Many people learned photography from Mr.Purna Man Chitrakar.

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 Kayestha; 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

Dwarika Das Shrestha is an aspiring businessman who was a law graduate in the 1950s. Hotelier Dwarika Das was a photo enthusiast and had picked the skill in 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.

Professional Photography

Bishnu Dhoj Joshi, the then General Manager of Gorkhapatra, 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. The data providing details are scarce, we can’t exactly point these details out.

Top photographers of Nepal:

Basically, photojournalists in Nepal are also the top photographers in Nepal. In modern days people like Skanda Gautam, Navesh Chitrakar, Photokhichuwa, Kishor Kayastha, Sanjog Manandhar, Bijay Maharjan, and Nipurna Bajracharya are leading the scene.

Among these Photoknichuwa is pretty active in 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 and 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 a 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 is here to solve the problem. 

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 some money out of your passion. Sell your content via Dhansar and fuel your passion by getting paid for your photographic artwork as well.

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