Albumen prints from late 19th Century.

(Printing process attributed to Louis-Desire Blanquart-Evrard, was the first commercially viable process of creating photographic print on paper from a negative)

Between 1868 and 1875, the India Office published in eight volumes with 468 photographs per set a photographic record of the tribes and casts of India.  The detailed description of each tribe was written by Captain P.Meadows Taylor.  The value of such a project was outlined by John Williams Kaye (of the India Museum in London) as being able to “furnish a permanent and more extensively available record of a most interest and effective effort on the part of the India Government to extend our knowledge of our fellow subjects in the east  – brining us to speak face to face with them.”

Amateur photographers Lord and Lady Canning wanted to create a more permanent record of their time in India, to allow them to “recall to the memories of the peculiarities of Indian life…”

This resulted in a scientific, political and artistic publication that would increase the knowledge of India and ultimately allow for better governing of the subjects.    Both the political and social status of each cast was outlined in the text.  Anthropological research was the tool in allowing the Empire to get a better hold on its subjects, outline the function of each cast and the strengths and weakness of the society it had been destined to control.