By Raju Mansukhani
Into a world of intense emotions and vibrant personalities
When time, it is said, comes to a halt, people see the world in black and white.
A treasure trove of black and white photographs of OP Sharma, the legendary photographer, takes us deep into such a world of intense emotions and vibrant personalities that seem frozen in time.
On 20th November 2022, it was time to celebrate the 85th birthday of OP Sharma, endearingly known as Sharma ji. A selection of his black and white award-winning photographs was compiled as a book ‘Photographic Gems of Pictorialism’. It was graciously released amidst friends, family-members and generations of photographers who gathered to wish the maestro.
From the 1960s, OP Sharma and his wife, late Chitrangada Sharma, worked tirelessly to position photography as an art form. At the same time, they were instrumental in popularising photography among generations of students, amateurs, and professionals. Sharma’s contributions as an artist and educationist are in evidence at Modern School, New Delhi where he taught for decades; Camera Art Institute at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi and the India International Photographic Council which he founded.
Said Ashok Talwar, President-IIPC, “Sharma ji remains my Guru and a teacher who has never stopped teaching. Or learning. I feel blessed to have known him for decades and learnt from him.”
A selection of black and white portraits are shared to give readers a glimpse of OP Sharma’s sharp incisive vision, imagination and his mastery over the art and technology of photography.
Classical singers, maestros, poets, literary figures besides India’s Prime Ministers and Presidents have been photographed by OP Sharma. His photographic works – covering the spectrum of portraits, pictorials, experimental, abstract, and still life – are preserved in leading museums in the USA, Germany, Russia, Norway, Finland, Spain and Australia.
Awards, accolades, and fellowships from the world over sit lightly on the shoulders of the soft-speaking photographer-artist in the autumn of his life.
Aseem, his son and a professional photographer, regards the Stuyvesant Peabody Award from the Photographic Society of America as probably the most prestigious. OP Sharma was the first Asian to receive this award, considered as the highest award in photography. Japan, France, and Singapore have felicitated his works and lauded his contribution to photography.
The author is a researcher-writer on history and heritage issues, a former deputy curator of PradhanmantriSangrahlaya.
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