This is the first major North American exhibition of work by the path-breaking and prolific lens-man Raja Deen Dayal (1844–1905), whose meticulous photographs capture a historical period of great transition in India. The exhibit brings together more than 100 works of art, culled from three major collections in North America and India, including the ROM’s collection of large, leather-bound photo albums produced by the firm Raja Deen Dayal & Sons. Over the course of Dayal’s remarkable career, he ran three successful studios, employed more than 50 staff photographers and assistants, and produced more than 30,000 images. The works on view were made at the intersection of princely states, the British Raj, and an emerging cosmopolitanism. Together, they demonstrate the unique trajectory of photography in India and its inseparability from a world history of photography.
Curated by ROM senior curator Dr. Deepali Dewan and art historian Dr. Deborah Hutton (The College of New Jersey), the exhibition is presented in association with the Alkazi Collection of Photography (ACP), New Delhi. It is inspired by a new major publication co-authored by the curators and based on that collection: Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in 19th-century India (ACP and Mapin, 2013).