A Look at Vijayanagara’s First Great Photographer: Alexander Greenlaw

2024-07-18 00:30:18

Dr. George Michell

A Look at Vijayanagara’s First Great Photographer: Alexander Greenlaw


March 28, 2023    
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Mazumdar-Shaw Auditorium, Museum of Art & Photography
22 Kasturba Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka, 560001
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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.

Dr. George Michell


Dr. George Michell studied architecture in Melbourne and then went on to pursue his interest in Indian historical architecture at SOAS, University of London. His thesis, on the Early Chalukya temples in the Badami region, completed around 50 years ago, was the beginning of a lifelong involvement with the Deccan region. During the 1980s and 1990s, together with the late John M. Fritz, he directed a meticulous architectural and archaeological documentation of Hampi Vijayanagara. As cofounder of the Deccan Heritage Foundation, he has contributed to numerous guidebooks and monographs. His most recent publication is Temples of Deccan India, 7th-13th Centuries, illustrated with photographs by Surendra Kumar.

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