Toronto Metropolitan University
Zotova_Olga.pdf (29.46 MB)

A full catalogue and analysis of Indian painted photographs at Royal Ontario Museum's South Asian photographic collection

Download (29.46 MB)
posted on 2021-05-23, 12:42 authored by Olga Zotova
This thesis is based on a photographic collection of Indian painted photographs from the South Asian Photographic collection at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). There are fifty-four photographic objects created by various makers and photographers with dates ranging from the 1880's to the 1990's. For the most part the objects are examples of studio portraiture. Most of them are photographic images with applied colour, however, there are some examples of paintings in this group that were executed in the tradition of photographic studio portraiture, but have no evidence of a photosensitive material underneath. The paintings, as well as the painted photographs, employ different media, such as watercolour, gouache and oil paints. The objects I investigated and catalogued fall under three categories: prints made by contact printing, by enlargement, and finally paintings produced using a photograph as a model. Tinting of photographs was a well-known Western tradition in the nineteenth century, while the process that Indian artists developed was a synthesis of their long practiced tradition of miniature painting and the newly developed technology of photography. Finally this thesis unveils the means of production of Indian painted photographs, and tries to find the reason for Indian artists employing opaque medium in their colourings.





  • Master of Arts


  • Photographic Preservation and Collections Management

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis Project