AbstractScholarship on nineteenth-century Indian photography claims that a relationship with Indian painting was discernible in both the compositions and content of the productions of Indian photographers. Scholars have most often delineated this “influence” in general rather than concrete terms, frequently relying on a monolithically conceived Indian painting tradition rather than specific genres. This essay contributes to the discourse by examining the oeuvre of Daroga Haji Abbas Ali, an Indian photographer based in Lucknow, one of the principal centers for the patronage of painting techniques, styles and subjects descended from the Mughal period (1526–1857). Ali’s work evinces traces of the muraqqaʿ (albums of collated paintings), possibly the modes of conveyance bringing sixteenth- through eighteenth-century subjects, compositions, and aesthetic concerns into the nineteenth century. The muraqqaʿ was not simply a repository of historical masterpieces; it continued to be a patronized mode of artistic production into the age of photography. Thus, the muraqqaʿ could be considered a relevant force in the emergence of Indian photography in general.
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