The profession of taking photos becoming photos
In the 1980s, there were half a hundred photography studios in a row in the Hatkhola district of old Dhaka in the capital. The place was then known as “Studiopara” to the people of Dhaka. The nearby Newmarket area also had 12 to 15 studios. Thanks to digital, the amount of photography has increased, but the number of studios has decreased. The nationwide studio enterprise, including Hatkhola, Newmarket is now on its way out.
According to data from the Bangladesh Photographic Association (BPA), the country’s studio traders’ association, there were once up to three lakh studios across the country. At that time, studios were scattered all over the country. Today, that number is down to a few thousand. And there are hundreds of studios in the capital Dhaka.
All studios can take photos, but not all have lab printing equipment on good quality paper. Those who have these printing machines are known as “Studio Labs”. The number of these studio-laboratories in the capital is about fifty. And that number is not many across the country.
Akkas Mahmud, the owner of Padma Studio in the capital’s Moghbazar, said Hatkhola Road in the capital was formerly called Studiopara. There were more than half a hundred studios in a row on the road from Ittefaq Mor via Abhisar Cinema Hall to Tikatuli. There were already crowds, there was a long queue to take pictures during various festivals including Eid. Basically, people from the lower and middle classes went there more.
Akkas Mahmud also said that at the same time several studios were built in the Newmarket area of the capital. But a few elite people went there. Apart from this, studios have been developed at various locations including Elephant Road, Jigatla, Farmgate, Gulshan, Mirpur-1, Lalbagh in Dhaka. Now there is no longer that lush condition.
Mohammad Jahangir Alam, president of the Bangladesh Photographic Association, said there was a 15% VAT rule in the case of lab color printing. However, when business collapsed, it was first reduced to 7.5% given the demands of businessmen. Then, around 2013, the studio activity was considered a sick industry and the VAT was abolished in this sector. Yet the studio business did not survive.
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