105 years old photographer Pranlal Patel passes away

Photo from his Facebook cover

Ahmedabad, 18 January 2014

105 years old photographer Pranlal Patel passed away today in Ahmedabad. Shri Patel was honored by Government of India’s Information and Broadcasting department with life time achievement award in 2012.

Born in 1908 Patel was originally a municipal school teacher in 1030s. Once he was in a school in Ahmedabad’s Madalpur area with his camera tied on his chair. When higher ups came for inspection and asked why he was keeping camera in class room, Pranlal replied it was his hoby. Pranlal was told that if he wanted to do photography he could better open a studio on Gandhi road. Patel was sleepless that night. Next morning he went to head master’s office and resigned to work as full fledged photographer. In one year he earned so much that he could buy a car. It was the first instance of any photographer in Gujarat buying car.

In 1940 Patel started earning yearly Rs. 3,500 through photography. His photographs were published in famous newspapers and magazines across India. At that time only mill owners had privilege of owning car.

Pranlalbhai was also a freedom fighter and getting pension from Government of India.

In earlier days, Pranlalbhai had a box camera which could take 12-16 photographs. He was fond of taking pictures of laborers. In fact his first photograph was featuring tools of laborers on the bank of Kankaria lake.

Pranlalbhai was active till the last month of his life. A documentary film, ‘Enu Sarvasva – His Everything,’ was recently released in Ahmedabad on his birthday this month. The film was directed by Kanchi Pandya and Ketan Modi.

Internationally, Hamilton University in New York has decided to organize a 5 month travelling exhibition, in USA, of his assorted photographs starting from January’2014.

Full narration of his life can be found here

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