Documenting The Vintage Cars Of Kolkata

Kolkata-based vintage car photographer, Deepanjan Sarkar, talks about his passion for wheels and how his journey cataloguing classic cars came to being
Sarkar's 1972 Premier President, clicked on a Sunday morning in Kolkata. Credit Deepanjan Sarkar
Sarkar's 1972 Premier President, clicked on a Sunday morning in Kolkata. Credit Deepanjan Sarkar

After a deep dive into animation filmmaking, and a stint as a UX designer in a leading MNC, Deepanjan Sarkar fell in love with vinateg cars. He has been the chief photographer of several automotive clubs in Kolkata. He regularly contributes to international and national automobile magazines.

His passion for cars started at a very young age. As a young boy, he used to collect scale model toy cars, gradually shifting to drawing sketches of cars and car-related themes.

It was in the 90s when he travelled across many places in a family friend&rsquos Mark 4 Ambassador as a kid, that the love for cars truly started. Those memories inspired him to create artworks during my college days, which has now become a full-blown passion.

We caught up for a quick chat about vintage cars, his travels to document these treasures, and his&nbspdream destination.

What made you decide you wanted to document vintage cars

In 2014, when Hindustan Motors shut down, my childhood road-trip memories compelled me to make a tribute documentary film, &lsquoAmby-tious&rsquo, a love story between the Hindustan Ambassador and those who loved the car. The film won several awards. It is also available on YouTube to watch. After this, my friend Souryadeep Mukherjee, introduced me to Classic Driver&rsquos Club (a community with deep respect and passion for vintage cars). He even loaned his camera to me so I could take photos for one of their Sunday Breakfast Drive events, and they loved my pictures. Now I regularly take pictures for their events and other clubs. Since I have a background in the arts, photography came naturally to me and combined with my love for vintage cars, documenting them seemed like the best thing to do. 

Do you only photograph such cars, or do you also restore them

I only photograph the cars and the lifestyle around them. I strongly feel that older cars have moods, souls, personalities and interesting stories to tell. Photographing them is all about capturing all that in the frame. I generally research the cars, arrive early for events, and take stock of the atmosphere, after which I go about taking the pictures.

My base location is Calcutta, but I also travel to places to find vintage cars. I generally prefer to drive around in my car I also love exploring cities on foot or using different modes of public transport.

Do you also meet the owners and know the story behind them, or only photograph the cars

I got the opportunity to contribute to the web magazine deRivaz & Ives, which is India&rsquos first magazine dedicated to classic & vintage vehicles. We meet the owners, listen to their personal stories, document them, click photos and then publish them. All historic cars have fascinating stories and are part of our cultural heritage.

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A post shared by Deepanjan Sarkar (@deesarcar)

Do you own any vintage cars

Yes A sage green 1972 Premier President joined my garage last year. The car was given to me by a Hare School alumnus before he passed away. He got much comfort with handing over the keys to me.

Dream destination and dream car

I am all for travelling all around the globe to find and photograph vintage vehicles. And as for my dream car&ndashA Cadillac Eldorado from the 1970s and a classic Mini. 

Lastly, please tell me what a regular day in your life consists of.

After work, I love spending most of my time editing photos, drawing interesting frames, planning for the next shoot, and researching historic vehicles and the stories behind them. Other than that, I start my weekends early and go for a drive to explore Calcutta in my classic Premier President.

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