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Know about the 'Photographer Prince' of Jaipur, who clicked selfies back in the 1800s

The memories captured by the king, are housed in the City Palace Museum in Jaipur.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, which can easily be encapsulated as the core idea behind World Photography Day, which falls on August 19th. Consequently, we would like to commemorate Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, the first king in the history of the Pink City to have a knack for photography, in the mid-1800s. So to know more about the 'Photographer Prince of India', whose early productions of captured memories are housed in the City Palace Museum, read on!


Meet the 'selfie king' from the 1800s

Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II was one of India's pioneering photographers and has been well-known for his zenana portraits, even during his lifetime. Although with the passage of time, these photographs were forgotten, they were rediscovered by historians about 100 years later, in the 1980s. Even today, various specialists working on the history of photography still admire the maharaja's works!

Being a real-time selfie-lover of his era, Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, often presented a visual autobiography, sprinkled with snapshots of the world around him. His works included a wide range of people, the city of Jaipur, women in the zenana section of the household, members of the royal family, wrestlers in an akhara and so on.

The fineness of his portraitures and cityscapes are a testament to his photophilic skills. As the only Jaipur king to document the 19th century, he had included around 2000 glass plate negatives that escaped the attention of the world and were later found in the tasveer khana (photography room) of Jaipur City Palace.

Zenana-themed photography led to wide acknowledgement at a later time!


Due to his obsession with capturing the exclusive zenana section of his household, the maharaja got his name dragged through the mud and into many controversial theories. But to photograph such subjects without a precedent, bestowed Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II with wide acknowledgement, later.

The first cinema hall of Jaipur, Ram Prakash Theatre, was also started by Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, who had a refined and prominent taste for performing arts. And since this theatre housed many outstation artistes from all over India, many clicks of the king showcase the portraits of these performers as well.

One of the most reformed & acknowledged photophilic king


This maharaja possessed the unique attribute of being a great leader and a refined photographer of his time, leaving us in awe of some of his pictorial works. Further, being a reformist, Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II was one of the most acknowledged kings of Jaipur.

He had also gifted the city with the first college and girls school, a new state museum and the first art and craft college as well, making his contribution to Jaipur during his reign, phenomenal. For more such stories about the Pink City, you can follow Knocksense Jaipur's Instagram page!

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