The Royal Family
Nasir al-Din Shah’s (1848–1896) interest in new technologies and photography in particular revolutionized the way in which the Qajars documented their dynasty. In addition to his own photographs, the shah had professionals such as Sevruguin photograph the Qajar royal family, courtiers, and officials. Sevruguin was also tasked with documenting important events, such as the shah’s funeral following his assassination. The two photographs of the assassin Mirza Reza Kermani displayed here show the stylistic differences between Sevruguin and his contemporaries. Sevruguin’s photograph emphasizes Kermani’s cold demeanor, the latter staring directly at the camera as if challenging the viewer; only on close inspection does the viewer notice the chains that bind him. In contrast, the second photograph—taken by Abdullah Mirza Qajar (1850–1912), a member of the royal family—forefronts the bound nature of the assassin, his chains made explicit, with the jailor to his side.