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Wax paper negative and albumen print
Image: 39.7 x 44.8 cm (15 5/8 x 17 5/8 in.); Paper: 40.5 x 44.8 cm (15 15/16 x 17 5/8 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 66 cm (22 x 26 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1999.215
Although Dr. John Murray enjoyed a distinguished medical career as a surgeon, administrator, and leader in the fight against cholera, he is now best known for his superb paper negative photographs of India. Having lived near the Taj Mahal in the city of Agra for 20 years, Dr. Murray took great interest in the monument, photographing it from numerous perspectives and under varying light conditions. In this print, he chose an elevated viewpoint to compose an intriguing rendering of the Rest-House. The paper negative was waxed before sensitizing, improving its translucency and allowing the photographer to render his architectural subject matter in broad areas of light and dark, emphasizing the building's bold geometric forms. The surrounding, picturesque landscape adds both visual interest and complexity to the composition. Seated figures in the foreground provide an indication of scale and the sense of wonder that might be experienced in the presence of this vast monument.
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