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Another facet of living heritage

Another facet of  living heritage
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On the occasion of the International Museum Day, the book titled, Long Exposure – The Camera at Udaipur, 1857-1957, will be formally released at the Visual Arts Gallery of India Habitat Centre by the guest of honour Venu Vasudevan, Director-General of National Museum, New Delhi in the presence of Arvind Singh, Mewar of Udaipur, Chairman and Managing Trustee of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur.

The book is published by the Maharana Mewar Historical Publications Trust, under the aegis of Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation in Udaipur. It marks an important milestone in the ongoing revitalization and modernization of the City Palace Museum in Udaipur. It complements the Bhagwat Prakash Gallery of the City Palace Museum, dedicated to the display and exhibition of photographic material from the Pictorial Archives of the Maharanas of Mewar (PAMM).

‘With the Long Exposure – The Camera at Udaipur, 1857-1957 we are witness to the unfolding of another facet of Living Heritage’, said Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, adding, ‘Materials preserved in our Pictorial Archives are now being shared with Indian and global audiences. It is an ongoing process of channelizing the power of our heritage and making it relevant, meaningful to contemporary times. This, in essence, is what exemplifies living heritage and I am proud, that on the International Museum Day, we are formally releasing this publication'.     

Painstakingly documented over several years, the photographic collections of the pictorial archives of Mewar’s Maharanas constitute one of the most significant collections of early photography in India. The collection’s importance lies in its wide range - the images are not only a record of the evolution of photographic technology as it was practiced at Udaipur but also reflect the changing tastes of patrons an practitioners, and the society in which they lived and worked thus also providing important insights into the life and times of the past century.
The book came about while extensive work was being done to digitize, study and preserve the existing pictorial archives. Arvind Singh Mewar wanted the collection to reach research scholars, academicians, institutions and showcase it to the public across the globe.
The Long Exposure – The Camera at Udaipur, 1857-1957 is the first comprehensive introduction to this rich collection. While recalling the story of the Royal collectors and their engagement with photography, photographers and the printed image, it also traces the archiving process and subsequent study of the collection. A technical note demystifies early photographic processes and new research on the archive is presented. 

The documenting and digitizing of this visual material has meant that an increased access to the collections is now possible for the scholar community, students and the larger public. The book has more than 235 select photographs from the archives of tens and thousands, which is a visual and a cerebral delight to the reader.

Pramod KG and Mrinalini who were documenting the collection for MMCF said ‘this book is a natural compilation which followed the curatorial work at the pictorial archives, we are grateful to MMCF and its Managing Trustee Arvind Singh Mewar without whose kind support and guidance this book would not have seen the light of day’. The team also had Girikumar as conservator providing technical inputs to PAMMS and has elaborated upon the conservation process of archiving these photographs in his chapter in the book.

Where:  Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre 
When: 18 May 
Timing:  6.30pm

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