June 13, 2024, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Fear has no place in photo journalism: Min Ratna Bajracharya

The Nepal Weekly
October 10, 2023

Noted photojournalist Min Ratna Bajracharya’s most liked photo is of Durga Thapa. The photograph was taken on 27th Chaitra 2046 B.S. When Thapa was about to jump up and shout slogans, he took 3/4 photos before she sat down. Many did not get to capture the scene but Min succeeded to capture the moment perfectly. Nepal Television had a chance to film it for a short period. The photos taken by him became very popular and later this photo became iconic. Min, who was not interested in politics at all, worked with Ganeshman Sings, supreme leader of 1990 movement for 6 years. He was influenced by individuals rather than his political party. Similarly, he wanted to publish a book called Decade of Iron Man by including the photographs taken by him while working in close association with Supreme Leader Singh.

On Magh 5th, 2045, the public movement started from the house of Ganeshman Singh. The photograph taken by Min while volunteering got published in India Today. At that time, the price of the photo was 100 dollars. He used to get 100 ICs of photos taken by him in other media as well. Born in Asan, Kathmandu on 2nd of Baisakh, 2022, he was interested in photography even while studying at school. From an early age, he developed an interest in photography while working as an assistant in his uncle’s curio shop in Swayambhu. Cameras were expensive at that time and Min did not have the money to buy them, so he had no other option but to seek help from camera owners. He learned photography from tourists. After that, he started working in national and international newspapers as a freelancer.

People started liking the photo of Sydney Harbor House in Australia taken by him in the year 2042. On Shrawan 2, 2043, the accused in the murder attempt of journalist Padam Thakurathi were going to be brought to the Charkhaal Adda. He took a photograph at that time, which was published on The Commoner and later also on Bimarsha Weekly.  Also, after returning to Nepal, he started publishing a film magazine called Ruprang, after which he became more and more addicted to photojournalism.

He stayed in Mustang for a year and a half thinking that he should work not only in politics but also in Nepal’s cultural and tourism. He got a chance to work with Tony Hagen. His photographs on the theme of lifestyle were published in Nepal Traveler magazine also. He had also served as the president of photojournalist association twice. After the earthquake in 2015, he got chance to visit Japan to exhibit his photographs, and the money he earned there, was donated to the earthquake relief fund.

He says that there should be no fear when practicing photojournalism. Now that technology has developed, but at that time there was a compulsion to rush in the incident site just to take a photo. While understanding the importance of photographs, we must have studied the personality of the person. You have to think first whether to take his portrait or what to take. At that time it was difficult to get the equipment. “Nowadays, any photographer, wherever he goes, takes a photo and after posting it on social media, it goes viral. “Photography requires a base and that is light and shade,” says Min. He said that when we talk about journalists, we say that they are the fourth state of the country and we talk about rights, but we should not violate the rights of others for our own benefit.” Only after finding out what is true, you should take a photo. “The more natural the photo is taken, the better it will be, he pointed out adding “ we must be loyal to the profession.”

Distortion has also come these days due to photography. He complains that every incident is exaggerated by showing corpses in explosions and not giving credit for some photos. He says that there is a practice in Nepal of putting a photo taken by one person under the name of another by changing the name and different organizations use them without giving any credit. His long struggle in the field of photography shows that it is not difficult to live life as a photographer now. (By Pratima Sapkota)