History in pics: The 19th century charm of Mumbai

  • Arundhati Chatterjee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 06, 2015 17:52 IST

Photography is not only a form of art, but also a means of visual documentation. That is what an ongoing exhibition in the city, titled From Mumbai To Bombay, aims to prove. The show comprises 75 photographs of 19th century Mumbai, giving viewers a glimpse of what the city looked like back in the day.


A picture of Elphinstone Circle, now known as Horniman Circle

Talking about the concept of the show, art collector Jagdish Aggarwal says, "I chanced upon some pictures of old Mumbai, and started collecting them after that. I felt that the citizens of Mumbai should see how different their city looked years ago. The earliest photos in this exhibition are from 1880."


A picture of Byculla

Most of the photographs in the show are over 100 years old, and have mostly been shot by British photographers. Explaining the historical importance of these frames, Aggarwal says, "Printing books wasexpensive back then. Thus, photography was the preferred medium through which people, all over the world, could see pictures of other places on the globe. Hence, some of these prints, in a way, gave the first glimpse of Mumbai to the rest of the world."


Colaba Station Preserved with the help of archival materials, these photographs have been clicked using some of the earliest models of plate cameras.


Churchgate Station

Speaking about British architecture, which is the subject in these photographs, collector Ajay Goyal says, "Architecture, today, is more about utility. When the British built their structures, they kept opulence and art in mind. These images evoke a sense of authority, which radiates from these constructions that are still standing tall. They give our city a sense of heritage."


Gateway of India and Tajmahal Palace

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