Meet Shyam Chitrakar, the accidental archiverOn his journey to become a sports photojournalist, Shyam Chitrakar accidentally curated possibly the largest—and most probably the only—sports archive in the country.
A cupboard full of old VHS tapes. Dusty piles of negatives stacked on top of each other in a corner. A rusty brown chest with four drawers filled with audiovisual cassettes. An old TV and VHS player in the company of three LCD desktops. These sit silently in a dimly lit room in Shyam Chitakar’s office in Bagbazar, as the hustle and bustle in the streets continue outside.
A sports photojournalist by profession, Chitrakar began his career as a footballer for the Mahabir Club.
He was one of the few people during those days to have a video camera. He would occasionally click photos and videos. But back then, there were few photography workshops or classes so people usually learnt the technical know-hows through guidance from other established photographers. Chitrakar credits Nepal’s first cinematographer and his brother-in-law, the late Bakhat Bahadur Chitrakar, for guiding him and teaching him photography skills.
Despite his increasing backaches, creaking joints, and blurring vision, Chitrakar still radiates an aura of energy and excitement when he talks about his journey as a sports photojournalist.
“The pains and aches are there when I am at home but they all disappear when I am working,” said Chitrakar. “I can walk, work, shoot, do almost anything when I am out in the field.”