The Story of Joy in Photography

Blessed are those who are able to turn their passion in to their work and vice versa. An extremely prosaic description of what is life-defining reality for a few.

This is the story of Yog Joy (1938-1996) who defined photojournalism in his time. Born in Sargodha district of what is now Pakistan, he completed his education from Rohtak (Haryana) and pursued photography. He joined “The Tribune “which was then the most highly circulated English newspaper in Chandigarh and the Punjab. He worked with the newspaper for close to three decades and became Chief Photographer, until his untimely death – but not before he was able to bring a sense of art into his photojournalism.

Let’s also not forget that digital photography and its’ attendant techniques and instant results with the ability to colour correct images was non-existent in those days. So the work done by Yog Joy lives on in the form of negative film rolls and transparency films. Along with his work in the news business – Yog Joy maintained a parallel form of photography – where he would shoot for himself and as per his very own and personal style. His subjects were all around him. His inspiration – the life and times of people around him, nature .. and pretty much what his expert eye saw that was different from the professional side of his photography. The result is a collection of images where subjects are technically commonplace – but the eye of Yog Joy has given them a beautifully unique twist and interpretation.

There were numerous exhibitions that Yog Joy participated in and numerous awards that he won.His first one-man photographic exhibition was held at Triveni Art Gallery in New Delhi in 1970. He went on to participate in more than 50 national level photographic exhibitions and was a judge at over a dozen shows. His published works include over 1,000 pictures of news, and of human interest themes, in international newspapers, periodicals and books. He was honoured with several national and international awards which include the National Press Award (1978); All India Press Photography Competition Award; The Lalit Kala Akademi’s Portfolio Award, UNICEF & UNESCO photo awards and more. He was a member of the Advisory Committee of the INTACH ( Haryana Chapter) and the Lalit Kala Akademi in Punjab and Chandigarh.

In the words of noted Indian writer Mulk Raj Anand, ‘Yog Joy was one of the few photographers of the decisive moment.’ Today – his legacy is being revived by his son, Vikram Joy, who is also a photographer of repute. – under the brand name “ The Joy in Photography. “

Culled from the family’s personal collection and curated by Vikram Joy, the images shot by Yog Joy bring alive the sand dunes of Rajasthan, the rustic life in the villages, poignant portraits as well as landscapes. The set of black and whites are the most arresting and mirror life realistically. The people and places in the varied images will remind the viewer of a world the way it existed many decades ago but the poignancy and the visual expressions captured by Joy make it just as relevant to the present.

The work of his father is being archived by Vikram Joy – who plans to create a library of these vintage images after digitizing them and to document them for posterity. The effort also includes creating prints and re-prints from the vast collection of images that are now Yog Joy’s legacy. And a carefully selected set of images are now available for those who appreciate the emotive interpretations of life as seen by Yog Joy through the lens of his camera.

You can view and shop the collection here.

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