As the Maharaja of Jaipur, Ram Singh II was famous for many things. It was during his reign that slavery, infanticide and other cruel customs were abolished. He was, however, also known for being a rather avid photographer.
He could see the value of photography years before many people had even heard of it. In this collection of glass negatives, shot between 1857 and 1865, we get unique insight into the people he spent his days with. It’s a fascinating look at the fashions of the day, and some rather magnificent facial hair.
Guided by British photographer, T. Murray, he developed his interest in portraits. With four wives to photograph, he was never short of subjects to practise with, either. But he also had visiting dignitaries and staff upon which to hone his skills.
The Maharaja did venture outside with his camera, though, too.
The quality of the shots, considering the technology back then is rather incredible. Some shots exhibit a little motion blur showing how long the exposures must’ve taken, but overall they’re pretty amazing.
The images were found in the Madho Nivas Wing of the City Palace in Jaipur, in Rajistan, in northern India. I was never really a fan of history at school, but photos from the past fascinate me. I suppose seeing it rather than hearing or reading about it is just so much more appealing to me.
[via The Sun]