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Glories past

Portraits of erstwhile heads of princely states reveal a poise that is long forgotten.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2012 23:09 IST
Portraits-of-erstwhile-heads-of-princely-states-reveal-a-poise-that-is-long-forgotten
Portraits-of-erstwhile-heads-of-princely-states-reveal-a-poise-that-is-long-forgotten

In the times of the Raj, the depiction of Indian rulers of princely states depended not only on formal court protocol and etiquette, but also on the limits of photographic technology of the time and the capacity for experimentation.

The images from that time reveal the meticulously choreographed portrayal of royalty for posterity and the hidden story behind the patron–photographer relationship.



The images must also be seen from various viewpoints — contextual and metaphorical. Pramod Kumar KG’s book Posing for Posterity, published by Roli Books, brings together exactly those views — the history and functions of both portraiture as well as photography in India; the socio-cultural position of the portrait in the past two centuries; and their political subtext.



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