Gift of Charles Wilkinson, 1977 (1977.683.24)
This photograph demonstrates what the medium brought to the art of portraiturea certain personal and candid quality. Here, although Nasir al-Din Shah (r. 184896) appears in a costume he wears in more formal portraits, the pose and expression adopted in this photograph are more relaxed. He is shown outdoors, seated rather than standing, and leaning back in a chair rather than sitting upright. One hand lies casually in his lap, the other is placed on his hip. This type of photograph reflects Nasir al-Din's interest in recording the private, daily life of his household in addition to using photography to capture the official aspects of the court. He was a photographer himself and among his favorite subjects were members of his family and personal harem.