It has been almost forty years since I, Parthasarathi Gope picked up the camera professionally and I have not stopped since. Being born into a family of photography lovers, under the creative wing of my amateur photographer father, I was easily indoctrinated into the world of the art of still images and it continues to fascinate me as I believe the practice to be a never-ending learning process.
As a child, I was surrounded by my father’s photography set-up and the equipment was merely toys to me. Once I dismantled my father’s camera and the rebuking I got for the incident made me consider photography as an art form for the first time. Imitating my father’s ways, as a teenager, I dabbled into photography printing in a home set-up dark room, with disastrous results, but the learning had begun for me.
In college, I grew popular among my friends as I did their shoots and also clicked photos for their official documents, to earn the extra buck. Soon I realized that to maintain my good reputation, my limited knowledge of photography back then was not enough to sustain me professionally, as I had decided after a long contemplation that I would do no job, but become a photographer.
At this point, I joined the Photography Association of Dumdum in Kolkata to enroll in their free evening course of photography. None of my friends stayed after the course was over and I was propelled completely into the profession. At this point, I did many amateur wildlife shoots in Kanha National Park. Apart from that, I was also attending many weddings as an amateur, just to continue honing my skills.
In 1992, when the National Museum of Art and Culture commissioned me to do a book on tribal art of Purnea, Bihar- I did it in a record number of ten days. This project not only marked the beginning of my professional career but also made me financially independent after a long struggle.
Also working on industrial documentation photography assignments, I made a mark with my first client, ITC Limited in their cigarette factory in Khidderpore, and it yielded even better results than the regular reputed advertisement agency. I had arrived and made a mark in this niche as well.
Constantly experimenting with lights, replicating the high-end equipment with my DIY set-up, I served the best quality of photos in my professional vicinity and soon I had my studio running from home- where my father collaborated sometimes. Creating a plethora of flashlights and other equipment, my ingenuity lay in remodeling junk into photography equipment.
On the doorstep of the studio was where I landed my first ever big assignment in marriage photography. This was for the daughter’s marriage of the then Chief Minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav. Yadav’s daughter’s wedding album had mostly my photos, although there were dozen of other photographers. This feat landed me in the elite zone of marriage photographers and my business boomed.
Apart from marriage photography, I use my studio and even the outdoors for fashion photography as well. I have also freelanced with several reputed news agencies and magazines like, Sananda and Outlook, sometimes representing the entire eastern region of India. I have also done street journaling photo projects in Kolkata and my hometown Barrackpore, and the videos have been widely shared on social media.
As I believe in the constant learning process of the art of photography, I run regular workshops from my studio and now has many students who are pursuing photography professionally. my workshops teach them about lighting techniques, indoor and outdoor photography, the use of lenses, and photo editing. It has been running for many years now, and students flock in at the start of every batch. Also, I regularly upload Youtube tutorials on photo editing from my channel.
Now running a high-end photo studio, with grand success, I believe that until my last breath, I will pursue his art and have no intention of giving up. Living with my wife Chaitali and my children Arko and Uttara- I am a cook and a musician, playing several musical instruments. A great practical joker in real life, my life has truly seen a complete spectrum of colors and I wait eagerly to what’s coming next.