While the birth of photography is considered to be an 19th-century phenomenon, experiments with the science behind the medium had been in motion from centuries before. The driving force behind this? A human desire to defy nature, to document the momentary with precision. READ MORE.
Virtual Reality for The 19th Century
Stereoscopic photo prints were the focus of much excitement at the photographic fairs of the 1800s, thanks to the cool 3D illusion they provide. Stereographs were made by producing two images of the same subject from slightly different angles, with the help of a camera featuring two lenses placed approximately 6cm apart mimicking the position of the human eyes. The images would then be mounted side by side, and viewed through a stereoscope which had two separate eyepieces. The illusion of three-dimensionality would be achieved by the efforts of the human brain as it brought the two images together.
A 19th-century printing technique called cyanotype is making a comeback - amongst artists, designers and photographers in India and abroad. 'Studies in Form,' a collaboration between Delhi-based photographer Randhir Singh and artist Seher Shah, uses cyanotype prints to take closer looks at a range of architectural structures such as the Akbar Bhawan in New Delhi. In Jodhpur, accessory designer and photographer Tarini Kumari uses the technique to make botanical photograms on fabric. Her company The Cobalt Co offers clothing, accessories and art printed using the cyanotype method.
Platinum (print) is Forever
This video explains what makes platinum printing the king of photographic techniques. At Sarmaya, we have all the proof we need in our portraits of Indian royalty dating to 1903—still as glorious and sharp as ever.
Postcards from the Caribbean
These are photos of Indian women who were among the two million shipped by the British Crown to toil in the Caribbean islands as indentured labourers. Indentureship was promoted in the 19th-century as the ideal way for poor Indians to make a living—and postcards like these were a marketing tool holding the promise of a happy prosperous life waiting over the seas. Read more about this little-known mass migration of Indian history and the unlikely portrait trails it has left behind.