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INDIA Through the Lens Photography 1840-1911

Edited by Vidya Dehejia

Freer/Sackler, Mapin, Prestel November 2000

Hardback/Paperback, 315 pgs.

The exhibition catalog for the current Smithsonian Exhibition (December 3, 2000 - March 25, 2001 in Washington D.C.) and an introduction to 19th century photography in the subcontinent. Beautifully printed, with essays by scholars on Samuel Bourne, Lala Deen Dayal, Felice Beato, the art of the panorama and other aspects of the early days of photography in India.

This book is another big and important step forward in the growing American interest in photography during the Raj. Its authors include some of the best known names in the field, like John Falconer and Gary Sampson, collector Jane Ricketts, and popular Raj historian Charles Allen (though not South Asian experts like Bri Bhushan Sharma or Ismeeth Raheem). From a scholarly perspective, the book explores no new ground. Regional photography in areas outside modern India (Sri Lanka, Pakistan) is ignored . But then again India Through the Lens is primarily an exhibition catalog, and in this sense it is a lavish one, full of superb photographs. A nice stocking stuffer for X'mas 2000 and a must for any afficionado of Raj photography.

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