Sartaj Din Jouhar was born in 1901 in Amritsar
, and after studying Science at the University of Amritsar, he came to England around 1923 to study Medicine. He qualified in 1931, and he ran a General Practice in County Durham for a few years before moving South in 1936, to take over a Medical Practice at Orleans Lodge, Twickenham.
His interest in photography had started around 1933
, with a folding Ensign camera, and by entry to various competitions he won some prize money which enabled him to upgrade to a Leica. He was a leading member of the Leica Postal Portfolio
which started in 1936.
Around that time he met W G Morris, F L Lee
and others and together they decided to resuscitate the Twickenham Photographic Society
- an event which occurred in 1938. Other founder members included John Bardsley
(who in due time was elected president of the Royal Photographic Society in 1960)
Twickenham Photographic Society merged with Richmond Camera Club in 1946
and in 1964 the combined group became the Richond and Twickenham Photographic Society - It held its 50th Anniversary Exhibition in 1988.
He became a Member of the Royal Photographic Society before the War in 1938
, achieved his Associateship in 1939 and his Fellowship in 1940. More or less continuously from 1944, until his death in 1963, he served on its Council and, as a keen Member of the Pictorial Group, he was its Honorary Secretary between 1944 and 1950 and later it's Chairman
He never became President of the Royal Photographic Society
- perhaps his occasionally abrasive approach and continual strive for change and development was unacceptable ! - or he felt that, as a 'back-bencher' his influence could be greater. However, he was not passive in accepting things as they were; he did not agree with all the policies and concepts of the Royal Photographic Society and he fought hard to bring about change.
In 1944 he was elected a Member of the London Salon of Photography
and was an active, consistent and prolific exhibitor for some eighteen years until his death. Membership of this elite group is conferred and cannot be applied for. At the time of his being invited to join, there were less than 30 members world-wide.
"The Doctor", as he was often known, lectured widely and internationally
. His objectives were to express himself through photography and to share the knowledge and understanding he developed, with others. This self-expression brought him to recognize photography as a Fine Art and much of the latter part of his life was devoted to demonstrating this to satisfy himself and with the hope of securing a change in the attitudes of others.
He was among the first UK amateurs to use the Kodacolor process
- this had been introduced to the American market in 1942 but had not become available in Great Britain until 1958. By the end of 1959 he had more or less perfected his use of this new (to him) medium and he gave, on December 4th 1959 a talk titled 'A Pictorial Approach to Kodacolor' to a meeting of the Colour Group of the RPS (The Photographic Journal, 100, 119-122, 1960).
His writings fill many pages
of the Photographic Journal, the Amateur Photographer and numerous other publications. His pictures were published in The Year's Photography, the Photographic Journal and Photograms of the Year, as well as in Leica News, Camera, Photography, Miniature Camera World, Modern Camera Magazine and Amateur Photography.
There may still be people who have, on their library shelves, a copy of his book 'Jouhar on 35mm Picture Making'
, which was published by the Fountain Press in 1955. Many of the principals contained in that book are as relevant today as they always were, with regard to Composition and other aspects of photography.
Some of his prints share a place with those from other famed photographers in permanent collections – For example, his picture "Madrasi Fishermen"
(taken during his 6-month trip to India in 1959) was the first colour print ever
to be accepted into the Tyng Collection of the RPS, (1960)
RPS Collection at the National Media Museum / SSPL
Above all, he was an individual
"Madrasi Fishermen" - 1960
– not afraid to express his opinion, even where it was diametrically opposed to others. The photographic world became richer as a result of his focus on this medium as the tool for self-fulfillment through self-expression.