The book is as much a genealogy of the Chitrakars as it is a pictorial history of Nepal, and a record of improvements in camera technology. Dirgha Man’s earliest photographs of street scenes have blurs that show movement, but as shutter speeds improved, motion is frozen in time.
Dirgha Man’s photographs of the crowds at Tundikhel or taken during royal processions in the 1900s show people gawking up at his camera rather than at the caparisoned elephants. Early portraits of royalty in regal finery show unsmiling and unmoving kings, queens and princes. Their descendants look more relaxed when facing the camera, since they did not have to stand still for as long.
Page after page in the book shows a forbidden kingdom slowly opening up to the outside world. The changes can be seen in the clothing, vehicles on the roads, architecture of inner city Kathmandu, the rivers and fields.
Dirgha Man and Ganesh Man had exclusive access to palace events, and got to photograph coronations, visits of foreign dignitaries, military parades and festivals that today make up a priceless record of recent Nepali history.