Deepali Dewan
Assistant Professor of Fine Art, University of Toronto
Publisher website

(Mapin and The Alkazi Collection of Photography, 2013; co-authored with Deborah Hutton) During his lifetime, the path-breaking and prolific lensman Raja Deen Dayal (1884–1905) was one of the most widely recognised photographers from the Indian subcontinent. Today he remains among the most celebrated figures from this earlier era. This book brings together for the first time extensive archival research with close analyses of the significant body of Dayal’s work preserved in the Alkazi Collection of Photography. Over the course of his remarkable career, Dayal opened studios in Indore, Secunderabad, and Bombay, employing over fifty staff photographers and assistants. Together, they produced more than 30,000 images of architecture, landscape, and people that have played a central role in how India’s past has been visualized. This volume explores varied topics, from Dayal’s public works, state visit, and hunting photographs to his images chronicling India’s elite and growing middle classes. In this way, lays the groundwork to rethink the history and practice of photography in India: as a commercial business, as an engagement with new technology, and as an aesthetic enterprise. It also demonstrates photography’s unique trajectory in India and its inseparability from a larger world history of photography. This publication includes several appendices, including a Key to Dating the photographs produced by the Dayal Studio.