Madan Mahatta trained in the UK at the Guildford School of Arts and Crafts before returning to India in 1954 to work at the family-owned studio Mahatta & Co in Delhi. His 'Delhi Architecture Series' (1950s-80s) is a document of the ideology and building of the Indian nation-state. Mahatta began his practice at a time when India was striving for a new identity following Independence. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, had a modernist vision for the country, that was manifested in the Nehruvian Nation Building project which saw urbanisation projects such as the creation of New Delhi. Mahatta photographed the New Delhi Municipal Corporation, the Hindustan Times Building and the Syrian Orthodox Church to name but a few. As well as the actual buildings he photographed the maquettes of early proposals in his studio, which the current lot is an example. The architects that Nehru commissioned to implement his modernist vision included J.K. Chowdhury, Charles Correa, Achyut Kanvinde, B.E. Doctor, Habib Rahman and Kuldip Singh. Some of these architects were sent by the state to to MIT and Harvard to study, under the tutelage of Walter Gropius, which resulted in a 'Bauhaus' aspect to many of their designs.
Mahatta used flat even light to photograph his subjects, often waiting for the sun's glare to drop so as to create the best frame. His photographs show an awareness of texture and light, that emphasised the concrete and decoration visible on the facades of the buildings.