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Lala Deen Dayal
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Lala Deen Dayal (1844-1905)
Chance played a role in the photographic life of Lala Deen Dayal. At the age of 23 years he was already well established and enjoyed the honourable position of  draughtsman in the service of the Government at Indore. He must have been quite out of the ordinary to have attracted the sort of patronage which enabled him to make his bow, his entrance on to the stage to begin his long and distinguished performance as a Master photographer.

This chance came as the result of his very able and competent group photographs taken for the Viceroy H.E. Lord Dufferin, Marquis of Alva. The year was 1885 – a significant year, for he decided to retire from Government service and spend the rest of his life behind the lens.

He was probably motivated to do this by the photographic equipment  gifted to him by Sir Henry Daly whose association  with him and admiration for his interest in photography led to a long tryst with the art of photography which was still in its young  and pioneering stage. The transmission of technical knowhow was very limited so there was enough scope for innovation and experimentation.

The images contained herein just about touch the fringe of his massive achievement- a lifetime of devotion and dedication to photography resulting in an enormous archive, much  of which has been lost to the ravages of time. But the gems that remain are enough to” feast our eyes” on the banquet of Deen Dayal’s immortal work.

He worked hard and displayed an extraordinary commercial ability, which was a vital prop to his inborn artistic feeling. It is fortunate that it was so because his meticulous categorising and referencing of every single piece of his work, bespeaks the man; the neatness, the care, the outstanding technical excellence, all contributed to his tremendous commercial success. He set up studios in Indore, Hyderabad and Bombay with clientele featuring the cream of society, with medals  galore, royal appointments and recognition.

The photographic business founded by Lala Deen Dayal was continued by his grandsons of whom Shri Ami Chand was the youngest and took a keen interest in photography. To him goes the credit for preserving the remarkable photographs that survive. Ami Chand had to his credit 65 years of devoted service to the art  of photography; his ability has been recognized internationally by the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain and membership of the Institute of British Photographers. Ami Chand  expired in 1984 after having witnessed the outstanding success of Deen Dayal exhibitions in Bombay, Pune and London. between 1979 and 1982
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