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Lady behind the Lens

By on March 12, 2014
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Lady behind the Lens

DONA PALMIRA COUTINHO was a formidable woman who broke stereotypes by being Goa’s first lady photographer. But underneath the professional veneer was a loving mother, passionate cook, eager gardener and wonderful host. On her recent Month’s Mind, her daughter Thelma Moses remembers her with love

Thelma Moses was in a hurry; there were many things on her mind. She quickly opened the folder containing newspaper clippings about her mother and sheaf after sheaf slipped out. “There are many that I have missed over the years,” she said. For, her mother Dona Palmira Coutinho was Goa’s first lady photographer and one of the state’s most well-loved.

In the glimmer of dim café lights, the clippings look yellowed and aged with time even though some are barely a few years old. Dona Palmira Coutinho inspired many, but left many more in awe. During a time when women confined themselves to looking after children, cooking and exchanging stories, she marched across Goa, the  Rolleiflex camera in hand, framing momentous occasions for posterity. 

But this isn’t about the personality she became. That has been written about time and again. This is about the woman she was, the mother she always remained, the provider she was forced to be and the photographer she turned into.

It was the early 1960s. Goa was really heaven back then, the people were happy and the lust for ‘the latest’ was unheard of. Simplicio Coutinho ran a photography venture called Hollywood Studio in the heart of Panaji and his wife, in charge of his home and children, led a life that could not be more content. With seven children and innumerable passions, Dona Palmira Coutinho was a happy woman.


Read the full article in 'Viva Goa' magazine copy.
Viva Goa magazine is now on stands. Available at all major book stalls and supermarkets in Goa.

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