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CATCHING THE LIGHT OF HISTORY

RAJA DEEN DAYAL: PRINCE OF PHOTO- GRAPHERS (Creative Point, price not mentioned) by Narendra Luther is a lavish exploration of the life and work of an extraordinary Indian artist. Deen Dayal was born in 1844 in an affluent Jain family in Uttar Pradesh and went on to receive the royal warrant of appointment as photographer to Queen Victoria and King Edward VII. His luxurious studio in Bombay was frequented not only by the British but also by the Indian princes. “Come when you have no other engagement immediately following, so as not to feel flurried,” he advised his sitters. One of the nizams of Hyderabad used to claim that Deen Dayal’s photograph of him could convey the scent of his ittar. He was a versatile photographer, as interested in human subjects as architectural or archaeological ones. The only copy of his Views of India is in Windsor Castle in England. This is a photograph of ladies listening to an educational lecture.

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