About this artwork

Like many commercial photographers in India Fred Bremner relied on portraiture to keep his business operating on a day-to-day basis but he still found time to complete personal projects. He produced numerous photographic series showing the diversity of the Indian landscape and local customs. Several of his photographs depict apparently everyday scenes, although on closer inspection they are actually artfully arranged compositions. This photograph might have been taken to show the improvements that irrigation brought to the province of Sindh. On travelling through the province Bremner remarked that from "nothing more than a lonely desert, since the inauguration of irrigation throughout the land it has become one of the richest [provinces], yielding harvests which compete in production with other provinces. Another example of what the British Raj has done for the good of the country".

Fred Bremner

Fred Bremner

Fred Bremner, the son of a professional photographer in Banff, travelled to India in 1882 and worked there for nearly forty years. He moved all the time, covering vast distances to photograph colonial officers and their families as well as members of the native aristocracy. Bremner was fascinated by the Indian caste system, publishing a volume in 1897 titled 'Types of the Indian Army' illustrating the 'various races' enlisted as troops.