The Artful Pose: Early Studio Photography in Mumbai — c. 1855-1940


Rahaab Allana
2014. Mapin Publishing
57 colour photographs
Hardcover, 27.5 cm x 24.1 cm, 57 pages
ISBN 9788189995409

Out of stock

Product Description

Drawn from the remarkable Alkazi Collection of Photography, this book traces the arrival, dissemination and development of photography in Mumbai between the mid-19th and early-20th century. Photography arrived in Mumbai as early as 1840, via trade, as well as through European explorers and government officials and the city quickly grew to be one of the largest centres of photography’s patronage and dissemination in India.

The British recorded and documented the various castes and tribes of India, using the medium of photography. This gradually led to the experimentation with portraiture and performance in numerous studios. This book uses enduring images of families, events and landscapes to examine the work of the early Indian photographers Shapoor Bhedwar, Dr. Narayan Daji and S. Hormusji, and independent firms such as Bourne & Shepherd, to highlight the trends that dominated the early years of photography in India.

With contributions from Partha MitterAkshaya Tankha and Suryanandini Sinha

Table of Contents


A Curatorial Note

The Dawn of Photography in India

Early Precedents

Facing the Lens

Performance for Camera

From Bombay to Mumbai: Studios of the City

Further Reading

Glossary of Terms

About the Authors

Rahaab Allana is Curator of the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi. He is a graduate in Art History (M.A.) from School of Oriental and African Studies, London.Partha Mitter is Hon. D.Lit (Courtauld Institute, London), Emeritus Professor, University of Sussex and member of  Wolfson College, Oxford. Akshaya Tankha is Research Scholar at Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, and Curatorial Assistant for the exhibition, ‘The Artful Pose’. Suryanandini Sinha is Ph.D. candidate at School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlala Nehru University, New Delhi researching “The Intercepted Photograph: Interactions of Painting and Digital Media with Studio Photography in India”.



‘A tribute to the history and evolution of early studio photography in India, ‘The Artful Pose’ marked the transition from painting to photography in an era when boundaries between the two remained blurred.”
The Hindu

Additional Information

Weight 700 g
Dimensions 27.5 x 24.1 x 1 cm