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REGENERATION A Reappraisal of Photography in Ceylon 1850-1900

The British Council, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2000
Paperback, 95 pgs.

This book is the superb catalog for an exhibition held in Colombo during the first part of 2000. Illuminating essays by John Falconer and others on the little-known photographic tradition that flourished on an island very different from the mainland Raj.

This well-illustrated volume contains some of the first hard information on early photographers in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. The cover photo and many of the images are by Charles Scowen, a little known artist whose photographs continue to astonish a century later. There is also excellent coverage of the 1850s photographer Francis Fiebig, many of whose hand-colored salt prints are displayed here for the first time.

It is worth noting that photography, and later color postcards often made from black and white photographs by Scowen and Plate, developed in Ceylon to a level barely seen in the rest of the subcontinent. Why this was so is not clear. It may, as this volume subtly suggests, have something to do with the individual sensibilities of the photographers and their studios.

The catalog is available from:
Ranmali Mirchandani
Art Manager
The British Council
49 Alfred House Gardens
Colombo 00300
Sri Lanka

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