Soon after the invention of the very first camera in the 19th century, photography spread far and wide in colonial India.
Administrators of the British Raj apart, Indians themselves took to documenting people, landscapes, and architecture around them. Over the years, a variety of photography societies and studios mushroomed in what were then Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras, and pioneers such as Maharaja Ram Singh II from Jaipur and later Homai Vyarawalla, the country’s first woman photojournalist, would go on to capture the many different facets of Indian life on film.
Beginning Wednesday, this rich history of photography is on display at the Science Museum in London as part of its Illuminating India exhibition to celebrate 70 years of the country’s independence from British rule.
Featuring images from as far back as 1857, the collection highlights the work of Indian photographers through the years, beginning with the very first, Ahmad Ali Khan, to the present day with Vasantha Yogananthan. It also features iconic photographs taken by Europeans like Henri Cartier-Bresson who captured the changing face of India over the years.