Inder Gopal


Inder Gopal

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In 1956 photography for me started as a childhood hobby with a Kodak Bunny 126 format camera from an army canteen. This point & shoot camera had no controls except a shutter button. It was still fun shooting friends, mountains, clouds, etc. in Mussoorie. Our boarding school had no day scholars. All days were activity filled - study, sports, dramatics, carpentry, art & crafts. Participation was a MUST. One English teacher who himself was a serious amateur owning a Leica M4 started a photography club for those who owned a camera. The world of photography was introduced to us in a small way when we developed films and made contact sheets. These were magical moments for us when we saw images building up.

The smell of hypo stuck to my fingers making me more passionate about photography. The photography club closed when the teacher Mr. Malan left school for better prospects. I kept my passion alive by hand colouring black & white prints, reading books and shooting more. A year before I left for Germany I got a Russian reflex camera - Zorky. There was one 120 format Voigtlander but light leaked into it and it was of hardly any use. In Germany I was able to buy me a SLR Yashica Electro X (if not mistaken with model). Slowly I added a small darkroom kit and restarted doing my processing & printing. I got a break when an advertising and industrial photographer, Mr. Detlev van Eupen, put in a advertisement looking for an assistant and with these samples I was got successfully employed and remained till the last day of my stay in Germany. A well equipped Studio with cameras from 35mm to 8x10 inches, a modern lab with large format BW and colour enlargers. An assortment of printing papers that were used I have never seen being sold in Indian market. Working alone with him was a blessing in disguise since I had to assist and many a times handle photography on my own. I was in total control of the lab. My paid holidays I spent by joining one or the other workshops/short courses held in various photography schools. Here many working or freelancing photographers joined to enhance or update the knowledge. We added a single colour Heidelberg offset machine to widen our services.


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