Baldev Duggal, founder of the photo lab Duggal Color, which anchored New York City’s Photo District from the 1960s through 1990s, died at home June 29, according to a statement from his company, Duggal Visual Solutions. He was 78.
Born in Jalandhar, India, Duggal arrived in New York City in 1957 with a student visa and $200. An avid photographer, he began processing color film for photographers in the bathtub of his apartment. In 1962, he started Duggal Color in a Manhattan neighborhood of photo studios and photographers’ lofts know as the Photo District. (Photo District News was launched in the same neighborhood in 1980.) Duggal Color’s use of an automated dip-and-dunk film processing system helped build a large professional clientele.
After moving to a larger space in Soho and investing $5 million in Kodachrome processing equipment, Duggal Color filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 1992, but continued offering film and digital services to individual, corporate and retail clients. Duggal Digital Solutions (as the company was later called) developed a variety of outdoor displays, and printed the all-weather, outdoor exhibition series The Fence, shown annually in Brooklyn Bridge Park during the Photoville Festival.
In 2013, Duggal opened Duggal Greenhouse, a 100,000-square-foot, solar-powered event space and rehearsal hall. At the opening, Duggal told The New York Daily News, “This is my legacy. I want to leave the world a better place than how I found it.”
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