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Dabee Chowdray Palwan at Benares, India, a vegetarian of 46 years, lifting a 960 lb. weight

Dabee Chowdray Palwan at Benares, India, a vegetarian of 46 years, lifting a 960 lb. weight

Photographer: Ricalton, James

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1903

Shelfmark: Photo 181/(59)

Item number: 59

Length: 8.9

Width: 17.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Stereoscopic photograph of Dabee Chowdray Palwan at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, taken by James Ricalton in c. 1903, from The Underwood Travel Library: Stereoscopic Views of India. This image is described by Ricalton in 'India Through the Stereoscope' (1907), "I present to you here this view of Mr Dabee Chowdray Palwan, one of Nature's athletes. Palwan is not a large man-about five feet seven and a half inches-and weighs, if I remember correctly, a little less than one hundred and seventy pounds. He is a vegetarian; he never read a book on physical culture; he was never within the walls of a gymnasium or any place for physical training...He found he excelled in lifting weights and had a surprising strength, greatly surpassing that of most men...You see him here as he lies on his back, with muscles not large but hard as steel, bearing on his uplifted arms nine hundred and sixty pounds...and thus the great stone was sustained till the camera secured for you this negative-only a second-when, with a tremendous muscular effort, he tossed the half ton to the earth beyond his knees. This wonderful feat of strength was then repeated for a second negative." This is one of a series of 100 photographs, designed to be viewed through a special binocular viewer, producing a 3D effect, which were sold together with a book of descriptions and a map. Stereoscopic cameras, those with two lenses and the ability to take two photographs at the same time, were introduced in the mid 19th century and revolutionised photography. They cut down exposure time and thus allowed for some movement in the image without blurring as subjects were not required to sit for long periods to produce sharp results.

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