History time! Do you know who O.P. Sharma is? He’s an Indian photographer based in Delhi and heads the photography department of Triveni Kala Sangam. He started teaching over there in 1980. He has photographed Begum Akhtar, Pandit Jasraj, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, K.M. Cariappa, and Rajiv Gandhi. His students are acclaimed photographers Saadiya Kochar and Vicky Roy. Why am I talking about him today? Well, because he’s the one who had mobilised the whole World Photography Day movement!
According to an interview of Sharma with Harmony India,
“The idea came to me in 1988 when, over and over again, in various publications that documented the history of photography, I came across this date: 19 August 1839. It was recorded as the date on which the then French government announced the invention of the ‘Daguerreotype’ process of photography as a ‘free gift to the world’. I proposed the idea to several masters and photographers around the world, about 150 of them, including the RPS and the Photographic Society of America (PSA). I quoted information I had found in several important photography-related documents, books and journals.”
While talking about how World Photography Day came to be, he also said,
“Back then, there was no Internet and email, so I wrote lots of letters to different people in many different countries. It took a long time for the replies to come in. By the beginning of 1991, everyone took a unanimous decision and we started celebrating ‘World Photography Day’ that year.”