About this artwork

By 1889, Fred Bremner had set up his own studio in Karachi and another in Quetta, the growing capital of the province of Baluchistan. From there he travelled across the province, following the newly laid railway tracks, to the very north-western edge of British India, on the border of Afghanistan. In his memoir he wrote of his encounters there: "There is nothing the Baluchi and Afghans value more than to be armed with a gun". Much of Bremner’s portrait photography depicts men grouped together. The men were often used to represent a racial ‘type’; such images were popular as postcards during the first decades of the twentieth century.

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.