Dr. Avnish Jolly, Chandigarh, 13th October, 2008 :“A photographer’s faith in his subject is very important to capture moods and emotions”, says Karam Singh, former Chief Photographer of The Tribune group of publications. Though Mr Singh has recently retired from the services of The Tribune, his passion for shooting the just right moment is still alive.
In his career spanning over three decades, Mr Singh covered innumerable historical events including war against terrorism in Punjab, Operation Blue Star and the deplorable riots in 1984. His work in the terrorism era of Punjab history, is a testimony to his dedication when he came to be known as an encounter- specialist among his colleagues in the profession.
A radio mechanic earning his livelihood, Mr Singh never ever thought that his dream would come true when his hobby will turn into his profession. And from a radio mechanic, he became a cameraman and joined the Hindustan Times in 1972 at Delhi. Somehow, Delhi did not fare well with him and he moved to Chandigarh and joined The Tribune as a photographer and steadily moved up the hierarchical rungs to retire as its Chief Photographer.
He played a vital role in setting up the photography department in The Tribune. “Imagination, innovation, and total dedication are the essential qualities of a true professional photographer”, beams Mr Singh looking at his team of photographers. Energetic and fiercely competitive, he did not hesitate to elbow his way forward in a crowd. In his long career, he managed to steal moments of events to capture in his camera where the press was barred.
Keeping with the style of The Tribune those days, he never received a byline for his pictures. However, his photographs were acknowledged in a publication of The Tribune group. At a time when photography equipment were clumsy, he used to climb trees to get his full view of the situation. Once, they say, he was so engrossed in capturing migratory birds in his camera in Uttranchal that he drowned in the river and later saved by the Defence Rescue Team.
He often argues that the qualities such as alertness and anticipation are essential to become a professional photographer. He shares his view that in any good feature, its intro and the photograph play a major role. “A photographer covering features must be thorough with the contents of article as a blink of eye will make all the difference,” he advocates.
Mr Singh feels it is very difficult to capture photographs of a child, an animal or moods.
Karam Singh says photography has become very easy after the digital technology. Now we have lot of time at our disposal to think to click a good photo.He is bestowed with the Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in news and feature photography by different organisations at local, regional and global level.
While in service, he feels, he hardly had spent time with his wife and now wishes to make up for that in the rest of his life. He also has keen interest in teaching photography to children in their tender age of imagination. He wishes to render his services through the local NGO Theater Age, working for the upliftment of slum children.