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India and Sri Lanka

Gathering dyed cloth on the banks of the Sabarmati River, Ahmedabad, India
Gathering dyed cloth on the banks of the Sabarmati River, Ahmedabad, India 1958, Brake, Brian (1927–1988), Ahmadabad. Gift of Mr Raymond Wai-Man Lau, 2001. Te Papa

Brian Brake first visited Sri Lanka in 1956 while on a world trip with writer Nigel Cameron. They were travelling from Europe to Southeast Asia via the Middle East, seeking out potential magazine articles on which to collaborate.

Brake later returned to Sri Lanka, and also visited India many times in his career. He developed a network of friendships with artists and filmmakers there, including renowned director Satyajit Ray. He liked the Indian people and their culture, and found the frequency with which English was spoken congenial.

His best known photo story in India was, of course, the ‘Monsoon’ essay he shot in 1960. But there were other subjects that occupied a lot of his time and energy. These included Kashmir in 1957; the Russian-managed construction of a steel mill at Durgapur in 1958; the 1959 flight of the Dalai Lama from Tibet; the Indian film industry in 1961; the legacy of the English in India in 1962; and the 1963 wedding of American socialite Hope Cooke to the crown prince of Sikkim.



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