Prashant Panjiar – Veteran Photojournalist in India

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A self-taught independent photojournalist, Prashant Panjiar is one of India’s best-known photographers.

The students play on the hill adjoining the Gurukul.

Based in New Delhi, Prashant specializes in reportage – editorial and documentary photography. A veteran in his field, he also works as a consulting editor, curator, and educator.

A fisherman with his catch, Veerampattinam, Pondicherry.

Actively involved in guiding young photographers in India, Prashant is one of the three senior photographers who select and mentor young documentary photographers for National Foundation of India’s fellowship program. He is also a co-founder of the Delhi Photo Festival, and the Nazar Foundation.

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Born in 1957, Prashant is a post-graduate in Political Science from Pune University, India. During his university days, he developed his photographic skills working on photographic projects that focused on peasant movements and other social issues.

A farmer plows his field before the start of the sowing season.

From 1984 through 2001, Prashant worked for several major Indian magazines as a photographer and eventually editor. Since 2001, he has devoted himself to being a full-time independent photographer specializing in editorial and documentary photography. Prashant’s work is regularly published in leading magazines both in India and abroad.

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Travel Photography Spots in Shanghai

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Similar to other major Asian cities, Shanghai has some great locations for visitors to photograph. Whether you’re looking for modernity, or tradition, Shanghai has something for you.

Lujiazui Skyline

The Bund (along the waterfront of Huangpu River) is a great spot to take photos of Shanghai’s iconic skyline. The skyline is at its best at night with dazzling neon lights and lit cruise ships reflected in the river.

Around Old Town Shanghai

A fun place to visit is Shanghai Old Town. Very touristy, but the traditional buildings and markets combine to make a fun photo walk. (Just to the northeast of the old town is the splendid Yu Garden, whose landscaping and traditional structures offer some more subjects to photograph).

Shanghai Film Park

A unique photo opportunity is a visit to Shanghai Film Park. This is one of China’s largest active outdoor movie studios, with impressively open access. — you can walk around (and shoot) sets of old Shanghai, and if you’re lucky you’ll also see some actual actors scurrying about.

Qibao Ancient Town / Shanghai

If you have time, eighteen kilometers from Shanghai city center you’ll find Qibao, a typical China water town. Qibao is a wonderful place to take photos of ‘old China’. The old town is composed of two canals crossed by three stone bridges. These are surrounded by old stone-paved streets connected with many side lanes.

Many first-time travellers to Asia, particularly those on business, have asked about easily accessible photo opportunities in the cities they visit. This post is part of an ongoing series, each on a different Asian city, introducing a few photo locations for visitors with limited time.

Canon and Nikon Collaboration Produced Japan’s First Camera

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The origins of Canon date back to the founding of its predecessor, Seiki Kogaku Kenkyusho (Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory) in 1933. At the time, German Leica and Contax cameras dominated the market – although they were quite expensive. But when Goro Yoshida disassembled one, he was shocked to find it was constructed of relatively simple parts made of inexpensive materials such as brass, aluminum, iron and rubber.

Together with his entrepreneur brother-in-law Saburo Uchida, and Takeo Maeda, Yoshida founded the company to develop an alternative to the Leica – a 35mm rangefinder camera that people actually could afford.

Kwanon prototype

In 1934, Yoshida’s prototype camera was ready – a 35 mm focal-plane-shutter camera. The prototype was named the ‘Kwanon’, the name of the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The camera’s lens was called ‘Kasyapa’, named after Mahakasyapa – a disciple of Buddha.

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At this time, the company adopted a logo for the camera. The logo included the word ‘Kwanon’ together with an image depicting the thousand-armed Kwanon and flames.

In 1935, while Precision Optical went about planning how to produce their cameras in quantities to bring them to market, the decision was made to change the Kwanon name to ‘Canon’.

Nippon Kogaku Kogyo logo (1939-1949)

At this early stage in the company’s history, Precision Optical lacked the resources and facilities to produce an entire camera on their own, so they turned to another Japanese company for help. The company they selected was Nippon Kogaku Kogyo (Japan Optical Industries), an established optical manufacturer that had been in business since 1917. (Nippon Kogaku later became today’s Nikon Corporation).

Nippon Kogaku agreed to build and provide Seiki Kogaku with the rangefinder mechanism, focus mount, and the all-important lenses needed for their new camera. The lens was a Nikkor 5cm f/3.5.

Hanza Canon

With this technical support, Precision Optical’s first production model camera – the ‘Hansa Canon’ – went on sale in 1936.

Hanza Canon - bottom view

Nippon Kogaku’s contribution to the Hanza Canon can be seen on the camera itself. Early models are clearly marked “Nippon Kogaku” on the bottom of the focusing helical. And of course, the name ‘Nikkor’ can be seen on the lens. (Nikkor lenses continued to be used in Canon cameras until 1948, when Canon began using their own lenses – which were sold under the ‘Serenar’ brand name).

Canon Serenar 5cm 50mm f2 lens

So, with the help of Nippon Kogaku Kogyo (Nikon), Precision Optical (Canon) had succeeded in launching Japan’s first 35 mm focal-plane-shutter camera.

Hanza Canon - top view

Although the Hansa Canon didn’t introduce any revolutionary features, it is credited with putting a Japanese camera in the same league as Leica – quite a coup for the company that would later become Canon.

The Hansa Canon also kick-started Nippon Kogaku on the road to becoming Nikon. Although they had produced camera lenses in small numbers before, the Hanza Canon marked Nippon Kogaku’s entry into the mass production of camera lenses – which eventually led to their entrance into camera manufacturing.

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The collaboration between Seiki Kogaku Kenkyusho and Nippon Kogaku Kogyo marked the beginning of Japan’s camera industry.