Sacred monkeys at Galta near Jeypore, India, fascinating even to those not inclined to worship
Photographer: Ricalton, James
Medium: Photographic print
Stereoscopic photograph of monkeys at a shrine at Galta near Jaipur in Rajasthan, taken by James Ricalton in c. 1903, from the The Underwood Travel Library: Stereoscopic Views of India. This image is described by Ricalton in 'India Through the Stereoscope' (1907): "I have turned my stereographic attention to a numerous simian family which assembles from the outlying hills and valleys at the call of one of the priests belonging to the Galta shrine. You probably know that the monkey is one of the many sacred animals in India...Temple monkeys like these are exceedingly fond of peas, and it is a custom for all visitors who may wish to see them assembled to carry along quantities of peas. The temple guardian has a certain call which they know; when this call is given, they scamper from every wood and moutainside for the feast. These monkeys you now see have been brought together in this way." This is one of a series of 100 photographs, designed to be viewed through a special binocular viewer, producing a 3D effect. The series was sold together with a book of descriptions and a map with precise locations to enable the 'traveller' to imagine that he was touring around India. 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.