When a woman of my age walks into a party with a big camera hanging from her neck, I usually get a few stares, but my love for photography has been with me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Guwahati surrounded by beautiful nature, my grandfather was the headmaster of a government school for boys and the original photographer in our family, I still remember his huge Kodak box camera, the one you had to pull a blanket over your head to operate; that man really loved taking photos, he even had a dark room in the house!
My first camera was an AGFA Click Three, it was a gift I received at age fourteen from my elder sister who knew how much I loved taking pictures. We used to get National Geographic and LIFE magazine delivered to our home, those issues are now considered vintage, but the images were compelling, and I thought, I too could photograph nature and subjects like the ones I would see in those pages.
I did my post grad in geology, happily immersed in the world of colorful rocks and minerals. I left home when I married and moved to upper Assam with my husband who was in banking at that time. There I continued to photograph nature and landscapes.
In 1984 we moved again, this time to Kolkata where I did my Bachelor of Education from Calcutta University and began teaching in schools around the city, eventually I moved to the private sector as an accountant and handled mostly boring affairs for twenty two years but never stopped photographing. By then, void of my beloved landscapes and nature from the north east, I developed a new love for the older and historic buildings and also for children, Durga Puja became a feast and new subjects began to appear. My lens were my escape from a monotonous work routine; a fantastic world would open up every time I grabbed my camera.
In 1990 I got my second camera, it was a Nikon F10, a 35mm film SLR (which I still use today believe it or not) and my first digital camera didn’t arrive until 2008, it was a Sony Alpha 200 DSLR, I guess it was time to join the present, it was a gift from my husband when he retired. Then last year I purchased a Sony Alpha 58, and that’s my newest and most precious baby.
In all these years I never had any accidents with my cameras except one time in Delhi when we were in a cinema watching a movie and there was some sort of family emergency and we had to leave the theater in a rush. It wasn’t until next morning that I realized that my camera was not in my purse, I panicked, I thought it was stolen, then I remember we had checked it with security back at the cinema the night before. My daughter rushed back to the complex, and there is was, safe and sound!
Whenever I go to a wedding or a party, I always bring a camera with me, I enjoy photographing my friends and family and gifting them candid images later on. I’ve become a bit of a popular fixture, in fact I’ve gotten hired a few times to cover events. I’ve taught myself how to use Photoshop by learning through YouTube tutorials, I have a facebook account and regularly whatsapp my friends images; I’m not afraid of technology, I’m constantly learning, it keeps me young at heart and my mind challenged! – Joysree Das, Geologist, Mother, Wife & Photographer.
Source: Humans of Kolkata