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People ShowcaseThe Typists

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Graham Smith
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The Typists

Post by Graham Smith » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:52 pm

Years ago, in India, street typists were a common sight, they are now a dying breed as computers have taken over and literacy is almost universal.

These typists, for a fee, would write official letters and fill out Government forms for the general public, many of whom were illiterate. They would also write private letters, letters to distant families and friends, even love letters.

I knew that a few of these typists still existed in Kolkata. Inquiries pointed me to an area near to the law courts where I might find them, but no one could direct me to an exact spot. I wandered around the maze of narrow back streets and alleyways and eventually found about five of them in a row, all in their tiny booths. I learned from one that they were all finding it difficult to make a living now whereas years ago they were quite prosperous people. He also said that he doubted if anyone of them could find enough work to provide a living wage for very much longer.
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minniev
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Post by minniev » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:37 pm

That is a most unique set of character portraits, giving us a small window into India and the people who live there. Very well taken and well presented, they convey the working environment of these folks doing a job most of us never even imagined existed today. And certainly monochrome is the best choice for them. Well done.
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Charles Haacker
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:52 pm

Gives new meaning to the word "battered." Those ancient, manual office machines! I trained on them when I was in the army. The obvious advantage is no need for electricity. I wonder where they get parts and ribbons. Surely they do their own repairs. Of course it will not be long before it no longer matters. I am sorry that they will lose their livelihood, but on the other hand universal literacy is a huge plus. It is an Ill wind indeed that blows nobody some good. :|
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Graham Smith
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Post by Graham Smith » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:29 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:52 pm
Gives new meaning to the word "battered." Those ancient, manual office machines! I trained on them when I was in the army. The obvious advantage is no need for electricity. I wonder where they get parts and ribbons. Surely they do their own repairs. Of course it will not be long before it no longer matters. I am sorry that they will lose their livelihood, but on the other hand universal literacy is a huge plus. It is an Ill wind indeed that blows nobody some good. :|
There will be a factory somewhere in India making ribbons and parts for typewriters, they never throw anything away, they repair it. If they can't buy a part there will be a little man close by who can make it. Remember the Royal Enfield a British motorcycle that was last made in Britain in 1978, they still make them in India. The most common taxi in India is the Ambassador which was the old British Morris Oxford of the late 50's early 60's They finally ceased production in India in 2014. So, as you can see, the make stuff last an awful long time in India.
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Graham Smith
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Post by Graham Smith » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:54 pm

minniev wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:37 pm
That is a most unique set of character portraits, giving us a small window into India and the people who live there. Very well taken and well presented, they convey the working environment of these folks doing a job most of us never even imagined existed today. And certainly monochrome is the best choice for them. Well done.
Thanks, Minnie.
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Post by PietFrancke » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:42 pm

awesome shots and quite a story about moving on and keeping up. I imagine that keyboarding-typing skill as such has value for data entry, but that I guess is a young man's game. The need for getting papers/documents filled in is probably still there in the sense that someone must know what is needed and where to go to input it - (like a lawyer or accountant or tax preparer type of role).

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Post by Matt Quinn » Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:17 am

Beautiful photos of people who take pride in their work and are dedicated to helping others, even thought it is for a fee. Sad to know it will disappear. Matt
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Post by St3v3M » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:01 am

It amazes me still when I see outdated technology put to good use, typewriters in third world countries and dot matrix printers in airports. Why change it if it works, and especially if it can give someone something to do. This is a wonderful set! S-
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