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Thread: history of photography in kerala

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    history of photography in kerala

    A photograph is worth thousand words. When we go through the collection of photographs of Kizhakkemadam what gets unfolded is the history of photography in Kerala.

    Records say that in 1865 Diwan T.Madhava Rao purchased a photopidikkunna yantram from S Arunacahalam Pillai the first photographer of Kerala. “Obviously he was asked to take the photograph of the then ruler Ayilyam Tirunal” said Kizhakkemadam. Photogrpahs taken in those days were that of the Royal Family members and it seem the cameraman had never attempted to freeze out door frames. He carries suitable background scenes and to avoid shakes, all those who pose wee asked to sit or to support their elbow on to some firm objects, he said.
    Around 1890, the palace appointed J B D Cruz as photographer-cum-clock mechanic. Photographs of Sethu Lekshmi Bayi and Seth Parvathi Bayi, during their adoption and Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Thampuran with his wife Lekshmi Bayi, form a aprt of his priced collection. Nair women pounding paddy, display of Ford Car imported by Travancore, Science college Square, a view of patrakulam, and the first foot ball team (1890). It was J C Boyle a chemistry professor at the Maharajas College who served as the coach. And their jersey was a white loin up to the ankles, and a closely fitting striped jacket. When N.Padmanabhan Thampi the grandson of Visakhom Tirunal was the gifted a Humper Cycle from England, his joy knew no bounds. He took it to Ramen Pillai’s studio and posed with it. CV Raman Pillai’s photograph, has got the signature of CV. The photograph of Rabindranath Tagore, his son Ratheendranath Tagore, daughter-in-law Prothima Devi, Deena bhandu C A Andrews taken in 1922 when the family visited Tiruvananthapuram was yet another valuable collection.
    Initially the photographs were processed at Chennai. Soondaram Brothers and Venkaih Brothers were popular processing centeres informed Kizhakkemadam. Similar units in the capital city were established in the 1920s, he added.


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