Benu Sen, the doyen of Indian photography, is no more. He breathed his last around 12-30 p.m. here on Tuesday.
Popular as “Benu Da” among his countless students and followers across India, he was the third ‘Master of Photography' (MFIAP) in the world, President of ‘Photographic Association of Dum Dum' for more than two decades, and Secretary-General of the Federation of Indian Photography (FIP) since 1997.
The founder Secretary-General of FIP, Dr. G Thomas, once described Benu Sen as the “Wizard of the Dark Room of Photography”. He was loved and adored by his students for his single-minded devotion to development of photography as an art.
Born on May 26, 1932, in Calcutta, Benu Sen began his life as a Ground Engineer (Aeronautical Engineering) at Dum Dum airport. But bored by its mechanical life he soon left it to join the Indian Museum, Calcutta, in 1963 as Head of the Department of Photography. He retired from there in 1990.
The third man in the world to have received the rare honour of ‘Master of Photography' (M.F.I.A.P.) from Federation International de L'Art Photographique, he was conferred Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain (F.R.P.S.) in 1975, EFIAP in 1960, ESFIAP in 1972 and several honorary fellowships like F.J.I.A.P. (Japan), F.N.P.A.S. (Sri Lanka), F.P.B.S. (Bangladesh), F.P.A.D (India) and F.C.O.S (Romania) for his contribution to photography.
As the founder-member of the Photographic Association of Dum Dum (PAD), he nurtured this institution till his demise and taught photography “free of cost”. He was the principal guiding force in running the two “free photographic courses” in Calcutta since 1967.
His notable contribution to photography was an extraordinary fine grain black & white film developer for tropical countries -- the BS4, Tonorama and macro pictography. He was the first Indian to introduce colour photogram and colour separation from B&W negatives.
An artist par excellence, his works are preserved today in several international museums. He was a great International Salon Exhibitor for more than 50 years And was bestowed more than a thousand international awards for his artistic photographic works across the world.
As a token of recognition of his contribution to photography, the Government of India awarded him (along with three others) the “Lifetime Achievement Award” of Rs.1,00,000 and a citation in August last year.