Founded in Durban in 1961 by Bobson Sukhdeo Mohanlall, Bobson Studio was among the first photographic studios in Africa to produce colour portraits. While the studio quickly earned widespread acclaim, Mohanlall predominantly catered to a Zulu clientele who would pose in their own beadwork and dress. Often the photographs would double as postcards that could be sent to far-flung relatives and friends. Following Sukhdeo Mohanlall’s tragic death in 2003, Axis Gallery, having represented and exhibited the Bobson Studio archive for a number of years, restored his medium-format negatives to produce an estate-authorised edition with the original Bobson Studio stamp.
Mohanlall’s works have been collected and exhibited internationally, with recent presentations including Darkroom: Photography and New Media in South Africa since 1950 at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, USA in 2010 and Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, USA in 2011; Contemporary Art/South Africa at Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, USA in 2014; and The Other Camera (2014-2015 in Sweden, the United States and South Africa).