Photo of J. Krishnamurti

From the Archives, Vol. 6

Along with the all-important teachings, the Krishnamurti Archives include thousands of photos of Krishnamurti and the people and places he was associated with. Many well-known photographers, including Edward Weston and Cecil Beaton, captured Krishnamurti’s image. These, along with pictures taken by friends such as Mary Zimbalist, Mark Edwards, Asit Chandmal and Rita Zampese, make up this unique collection. A long-term project of the foundation archives has been scanning and cataloguing their prints, negatives and slides at high resolution for preservation and to make the collection easier to reference. This article highlights some of these photographs, taken throughout Krishnamurti’s life, from the late 1800s to the 1980s, focusing on portraits.

1 Krishnamurti in 1899

The first known photograph of Krishnamurti, taken in the town of his birth, Madanapalle, India, in 1899. He was four years old. Photographer unknown.

2 Krishnamurti in 1911

Krishnamurti in 1911, after his initiation by the Theosophical Society and around the time The Order of the Star in the East was established. Photograph by Don Fabrizio Ruspoli.

3 Krishnamurti in 1923

Taken in Ommen, The Netherlands, in 1923, when he visited for the first time, this picture shows Krishnamurti in his late 20s. Krishnamurti had now begun giving talks around the world. Photograph by Zeigler.

4 Krishnamurti in 1929

In 1929, Krishnamurti split from the Theosophical Society and dissolved the Order of the Star, of which he was head. This photo was taken around the time of his famous dissolution speech. Photographer unknown.

5 Krishnamurti in 1934

This photograph is one of a well-known series by ‘one of the masters of 20th Century photography’ Edward Weston. It was taken in Carmel, California, in 1934.

6 Krishnamurti in 1949

Krishnamurti in 1949, by DRD Wadia. The 1940s and 50s was a period when fewer photos of Krishnamurti were taken because of World War 2, along with his insistence that ‘the teacher is not important’.

7 Krishnamurti in 1952

This iconic image of Krishnamurti was used on postage stamps in India. It was taken in India in 1952 by DRD Wadia.

8 Krishnamurti in 1967

Another iconic image, this was taken by Cecil Beaton in London in 1967. Beaton was a renowned portrait and fashion photographer. Image copyright Condé Nast.

9 Krishnamurti in 1972

In the 1970s, the number of photographs taken of Krishnamurti grew exponentially, especially when giving talks and in dialogue. Krishnamurti must have relaxed his position on this. This photo is by Mark Edwards and was taken at Brockwood Park School in 1972.

10 Krishnamurti in 1977

Krishnamurti at Rishi Valley School in 1977 by MA Hamid. Krishnamurti is now in his 80s.

11 Krishnamurti in 1982

This intimate portrait was taken by Krishnamurti’s assistant and friend, Mary Zimbalist, in 1982.

12 Krishnamurti in 1986

This photograph by Mark Edwards is among the last taken of Krishnamurti, within weeks of his death in 1986. It was taken in Bombay during his final public talks.

A gallery of further photographs is also available. A later article, Part 2, will focus on informal photographs of Krishnamurti.