Mary Binney Wheeler and the Era of Romantic Travel
The Mary Binney Wheeler collection of photographic slides is one of the largest individual collections of its kind in the United States. Amassed over the course of fourteen trips to India and Sri Lanka, the collection provides us with over 9,000 images of an astounding diversity of people, places, and events from nearly every corner of the Indian Subcontinent.
The image quality is exceptional, clearly justifying the accolades she received for her photographic achievements from the National Geographic Society, the Indian Government, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum.
Mary Binney Wheeler can be rightfully considered as the last in a long line of "romantic" artistic and literary travelers, true adventurers of the human spirit seeking to discover and unlock the mystique of far away lands. And yet her images are more than picturesque or exotic. She was unique in her ability to balance the timeless with the mundane, splendour with homeliness: the intense devotion of an anonymous devote before the image of the deity is as haunting and profound as the far away majesty of the Himalayas veiled in cloud and mystery.