A Look at Vijayanagara’s First Great Photographer: Alexander Greenlaw – By George Michell
The extensive photographic coverage of Hampi, a town in Karnataka with numerous ruined temple complexes from the Vijayanagara Empire, by Alexander Greenlaw, came to light in the 1980s. A British Colonel stationed in Bellary during the 1850s, Greenlaw recorded the monuments and landscape of the ruined city in a series of more than 60 epic images. Dated to 1856, these constitute the earliest, most comprehensive documentation of Hampi, Vijayanagara. Furthermore, they are also considered masterpieces of early topographic photography, comparable to what was being done in Egypt and Greece merely one or two years before. In this talk, Dr. George Michell will take audiences through a selection of Greenlaw’s images that were transferred from original negatives to modern prints; and what learnings they make possible – as historical record, archival evidence and photographic masterpieces.