How did we decide when the much-loved World Photo Day should be celebrated?
The date behind World Photo Day originates from the invention of the Daguerreotype, a photographic process developed by Joseph Nicèphore Niépce and Louis Daguerre in 1837. On January 9, 1839, The French Academy of Sciences officially announced the Daguerreotype process. A few months later, on August 19, 1839, the French government purchased the patent and announced the invention as a gift “Free to the World”.
The truth behind the first ever photograph
It should be noted that the Daguerreotype was NOT the first permanent photographic image. In 1826, Nicèphore Niépce captured the earliest known permanent photograph known as ‘View from the Window at Le Gras’ using a process called Heliography.
August 19 was chosen as the date for commemorating and celebrating World Photo Day based on the following historical merits:
- The Daguerreotype as the first practical photographic process.
- The purchase and release of the patent by the French government.
Remembering the Prince of Indian Photographers on World Photo Day
The doyen of Indian photographers, Raja Lala Deen Dayal was born in 1844 at Sardhana in Meerut (in the United Provinces). He received technical education at Thomason Civil Engineering College in Roorkee after which he joined as Head Estimator and Draftsman in the Public Works Department (PwD) at Indore.
The ruler of Indore, Maharaja Tukoji II, convinced him to set up his studio there. Sir Henry Daly, the Agent to the Governor General, encouraged him, too. According to his memoirs, he was thus able to obtain the patronage of Lord North Brook, the Governor General of India in 1874.
He accompanied Sir Lepel Griffin on his central India tour during which he photographed Gwalior, Khajuraho, and several other sites in the heart of India.
In 1896, he expanded his business and opened the largest photography studio in Bombay, which was patronized by the Indians as well as the British. The Nizam visited his studio in Bombay and invited him to Hyderabad. He established a brand new photographic studio in the city’s twin, Secunderabad. Nizam Mahaboob Ali Pasha, Nizam VI, was photographed by Raja Deen Dayal during his shikaars, wedding ceremony, and visits by foreign royalty. The Nizam of Hyderabad conferred the title of ‘Raja Musavir Jung Bahadur’ upon him and a Mansab.
Raja Deendayal had his two sons, Gyanchand and Dharamchand, assisting him. Dharmchand died in 1904 and this was a grievous loss to him.
Besides the Nizam, Raja Deen Dayal photographed various British dignitaries, military exercises, the visit of King George V, then Prince of Wales. He also accompanied the Nizam VI to Delhi for the durbar in 1903.
Apart from being honored in 1885 by Lord Dufferin and appointed official photographer to the Viceroy and also to successive viceroys like Earl Elgin and Duke of Connaught, he also had the unique honour of being appointed as “Photographer to Her Majesty and Queen” by Queen Victoria in 1887.
He received numerous awards in exhibitions in India and abroad, notably the World Colombian Commission in 1893 in USA.
Raja Den Dayal passed away on July 5, 1905.
On World Photo Day 2016, here’s a sneak peek at some of his brilliant work:
Seamedu is committed to developing photography enthusiasts into all-round professional photographers. Hopefully, a century or two from now, there will be an article written on this very day about a great photographer who graduated from Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism!
Happy World Photo Day, folks!