Scope and content:

These images from one of India's largest and most ancient cities were taken by Gedney from 1969 to 1971 as part of a project funded by a Fulbright Fellowhip for Photography. Also included in this series is a sequence of photographs taken at the beginning of Gedney's trip in the old city neighborhoods of New Delhi.

Most of the action in Benares is on the streets and on the Ganges riverside ghats, or steps, where Gedney documented a seemingly never-ending panorama of activity, people, and buildings. Subjects include vendors, markets, and customers; vehicles of every kind; museums and palace rooms, populated by visitors and solitary staff; children playing, studying in classrooms, and in orphanages; events such as weddings and parties; major religious festivals and smaller, personal rituals at temples or on the river; athletic rituals; gurus and their followers; families sleeping on rooftops and people sleeping at night on the streets; and domestic animals roaming the city. One sequence was taken during a procession of the Maharajah of Benares from his palace. Gedney also traveled to a small village at least once, capturing scenes of country life which contrast with those of the city. There are few interior scenes in family dwellings, though there are several portraits of families and images of family life out-of-doors.

Finally, Gedney was fascinated with Indian art, focusing his camera on artists' studios, craftspeople's rooms, and especially on the folkloric wall paintings found throughout the city. These paintings appear in the collection not only as black-and-white prints, but are also present as one of the few sets of color images in the collection, in the Slides Series.


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Collection restrictions:

Portions of the collection are closed pending digitization.

Negatives and original audiovisual media are closed to use. Viewing and listening copies are available upon advance request.

Please contact the Rubenstein Library before coming to use this collection.

Use & permissions:

The copyright interests for Gedney images in this collection are held by Duke University. However, some commercial work, audio recordings, and materials by other creators, may carry other copyright considerations. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, or contact the Rubenstein Library.

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