Smile..1..2..3..Click! This was the sequence of events that I heard, when my father snapped my picture during my childhood. He had a Nikon camera, of which I don’t know the configuration. Before going there, let me tell you, my father is a photographer, by profession. He spent all his years of service at the Visweswaraya Technological Museum, a part of the National Council of Museums. Many exhibits in the Bangalore Museum are his work of art. Something, I am proud about.
My father owned two Nikon cameras. The film one of course, because this is the 1970s and 80’s. For some extra income he clicked pictures at a friend’s or friend’s friend’s wedding. There would be ten rolls of film used, sometimes fifteen, sometimes even twenty. If a few films were remaining after the bride and groom left on their honeymoon, my brother and I would be asked to pose to finish the roll. Fresh rolls were no doubt spent on us for birthdays, Lalbagh flower show, Cubbon park visits, school events or sometimes even without a reason, for photo sessions on our terrace.
These cameras were the most precious treasures that my father cared for with his dear life, apart from my brother and I. They were kept in the dark green Godrej almirah’s shelf which came with a lock. We called it ‘appa’s secret shelf’ 🙂 His cameras, lens, flash and I don’t know what else was kept in that shelf, coz we were never allowed to open it. As we grew, we knew where the keys were kept, but never touched them unless asked to, under supervision. The only other thing I know that was kept in the shelf was his salary in an orange envelope with the amount written in blue ink on the cover.
On photo session days, we wore our ‘newest’ dress, touched up my face a little bit with Cuticura powder, combed my hair and wore my best smile. The ‘locations’ were usually the terrace or inside the house, sometimes a red shawl, or rajasthani print bedsheet put up on the wall to serve as background. He instructed every pose. The angle of our body, where to look, how much to lift the chin, stand straight, how much to smile, how to put the hair, etc. Finally he would say, Ready and the flash would shine bright into my eyes. The films were expensive, so wasting them was no option at all.
My brother and I have a collection of photographs from our childhood, to savour and reminisice all those wonderful years. As we grew into adulthood, our educational demands forced our dad to sell his cameras. Now, I can understand how sad he must have felt doing it, just one of the sacrifices for us.
Today he owns a Nikon D300, couple of lenses, flash etc, of which I still dont know the configuration details :). His precious treasure today, apart from my brother, my kids and me. The camera and other accessories are locked up in the secret shelf of the same dark green Godrej Almirah, which I got to open recently to pick up the camera before we headed for brother’s wedding.
From my father’s collection, taken in his old Nikon camera – My brother, Anand and I.
My brother capture of my son – treading our father’s footsteps.
My father’s clicks of my kids.
My father and two of his treasures!