"Passport size photos" [35mm x 45mm] are asked by every office. This is a 'must' when we need to obtain or renew a Driving License, an identity card, for opening bank accounts, PAN card, Ration card, registering for some course, not to mention obtaining Passport and several others. As such, we need to keep copies handy for any sudden requirement.
In the days of yore a typical studio had one fixed camera behind the wooden board. The diffuser light was also part of this. The rotation of a crank exposed the film, which the expert would do after asking the subject to look 'here' pointing to the lens. The size of the print and number of copies needed were to be let known to the person attending. He would index the photo as per his film and gave us the 'due date' [delivery of prints] when he collected a token advance money. This was because the studios exposed film rolls and developed them only after the roll was over! Once I was sent back on the due date which was one or two days later, saying that the 'roll is yet to complete'! Those days are now gone. This is the digital era. Why, since the last few years itself. Electronics has made several things easy and in many ways.
Last week I happened to visit Roy Studio [Estd.1954] close to our house for my requirement. The copies made a couple of years ago have been spent.
"Passport photos." I told the proprietor. "For 8, it will cost forty rupees". I said "I need 16." "For 16, seventy rupees. Comb your hair there." He showed a lovely vintage dressing table, probably as old as the studio. I had gone prepared with my pocket comb. The helmet displaces the arrangement of hairs. So the crop has to be rearranged. I prefer my own comb to the one kept there.
A green curtain was behind me. I sat on the plastic stool for posing and saw this view [pictured] while the photographer was still attending to the previous customer at the desk.
A young girl-photographer employed by the proprietor soon arrived and sat in front of me with her camera after rearranging the diffuser lights. She wanted me to keep the head a bit straighter. Our necks tend to take their 'original positions' involuntarily!
Wait, let me record what I see from this end!
I chose this one for printing, out of two she 'clicked', because of an inkling of a deliberate grin.
Advantage of digital technology - we can see from the camera monitor how the photo will be. If we do not like any shot, they can take a few more to choose from! We now have the option to decide. Imagine the days when we were waiting eagerly to see the prints two days later, from the ONE exposure!
Immediately, she uploaded it to the computer and played with the keyboard and mouse. Lo, the tiny printer was spitting out two sheets of 8 photos each. The way this girl trimmed and separated the copies in the manual trimmer spoke of her skill.
I paid the proprietor the seventy rupees which he accounted in his register. I was walking out with the copies in barely ten minutes! Before that, I had taken a few shots from my camera. Do not miss the vintage bellow model he has proudly displayed here.
In its sixtieth year this studio had recently shifted [just about 50 metres away] to a first floor building right opposite 'Gayathri Coffee' where we buy our coffee powder.
Last year when I reorganized the family albums I created an "Evolution" page in the new album. One of the 16 was immediately added there, becoming the 22nd Passport Photo and only the 7th color photo taken over 40 years! Let me see how long the other 15 copies will last. The smaller ones are known as 'stamp size'.
The first one was taken in 1973.