Foy Nissen (1931- 2018)
Foy Nissen was of Danish descent. His great grandfather Georg Christian Kastrup Nissen left the Danish island of Langeland in 1857 for England in search of a better future. Once there, he found himself on a ship to India instead and landed in Bombay. Unable to make any headway with the British, he worked his way to Gujarat and into the private army of the Maharaja of Baroda. The family did well building a military career for themselves with Georg’s eldest son Ferdinand eventually commanding the Maharaja’s army.
Foy’s father Eric (grandson of Georg) seems to have moved away from Baroda and while Foy was born in Pune in 1931, he grew up in Mumbai studying at the Cathedral and John Connon School. He graduated with a Masters in Art from Christ College, Cambridge and worked for several years at the British Council as their cultural representative. His deep interest in the history of Mumbai and its architecture is reflected in the vast collection of books in his library and his intimate knowledge of the design and sculptural detail of its colonial past. Several writers on the city have acknowledged Nissen’s contribution to their work including Gillian Tindall, author of City of Gold and Suketu Mehta in his book Maximum City.
Though Foy had been behind the lens since 1962, his work rarely appeared in the public domain save for a few articles that were published and four exhibitions including a collection of his photographs that were part of A Solitary Moment: The Other India at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1982 and a second exhibition at Hull in Yorkshire.
“For me, there is no such thing as the definitive photograph. The very act of fixing an image in a split-shutter-second suggests the dialogue that may ensue… Does the subsequent viewer see it this way? Or have I missed something…MORE DETAILS
Foy Nissen's hand-drawn map of the Fort precinct has uses even after decades! Photography and Media programme students were taken on a virtual tour by ticking off some landmarks in Bombay from his list through his photographs . After the…MORE DETAILS
10am-12pm - Secondary School Students 12.30pm - 2.30pm - Primary School Students Taking a bit of inspiration from Foy Nissen's hand-drawn maps, this workshop was conducted on map-making. Participants - school students from Scholars High School- were taken on a…MORE DETAILS
Remembering Foy, is a talk by the conservation architect Vikas Dilawari at the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery, CSMVS. The event celebrates the release of the exhibition catalogue Foy Nissen’s Bombay highlighting the work of a lensman who was also a pioneer in…MORE DETAILS
About the workshop: "Foy Nissen's Bombay" is an exhibition of photographs by the original chronicler of the city. The black and white photographs on display evoke the memory of a time gone by. While walking through the exhibition, one cannot help…MORE DETAILS
23 March and 6th April 2019 The Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation is delighted to present Foy Nissen’s Bombay, an extraordinary archive of photographs that will finally be available to the people of Mumbai. From the gifted 8-year-old who lived on Bastion…MORE DETAILS