Baldev Duggal, founder of Duggal Visual Solutions, died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of June 29. He was 78.
Born in Jalandhar, India, Duggal had been captivated by the power of photography since childhood, when his grandfather gave him his first Brownie camera. He had seen his first photographic success at age 15, when he won a magazine cover photo contest in India. But his love for the art extended far beyond simply creating photographs. He sought to empower the entire photography community as a whole, and believed he could truly make an impact on the world by promoting visual artists and their work.
Duggal spent his teenage years envisioning a storybook immigration to the United States of America. He arrived in New York City in 1957 with nothing more than a one-way ticket, a student visa, $200, and a dream. From humble beginnings processing film in the bathtub of his Manhattan apartment to building a company that today employs more than 360 people and serves a global clientele of top brands and creative professionals, Duggal’s accomplishments were nothing short of incredible. He was a pioneer of New York’s Photo District in the 1960s, launching his business — then called Duggal Color — in 1962 with the invention of his revolutionary dip and dunk automated film processing, still widely used today.
Duggal would go on to earn the respect and trust of several eras’ worth of legendary photographers such as Bert Stern, Richard Avedon, Albert Watson, Vic Muniz, and David LaChapelle. He was an early and ongoing adapter of digital photography, most notably expanding into digital imaging with high-resolution drum scanning in the late 1970s. Always the trailblazer, in the early 1990s Duggal printed and installed a photographic quality image large enough to wrap around an entire building, setting a trend now followed as a matter of course throughout the advertising industry, according to the company.
During his later years, he was instrumental in developing the Brooklyn Navy Yard into a national capital for conservation and green manufacturing, namely with his prized venue, the Duggal Greenhouse, which he had converted from a dilapidated ship repair facility into a hybrid entertainment-eco-friendly events venue that drew the likes of AOL, Dior, Lady GaGa, Beyoncé, Nike, and a 2016 Democratic Debate.
Duggal’s business acumen was legendary — his success, astronomic. He achieved the quintessential American Dream. His most profound mark, however, was his passion for creativity and innovation. He had a gift that only a handful of leaders in history have ever had, and that was the ability to deeply inspire every single person he shook hands with. He always spoke of leaving the world a better place than he found it, for his children, grandchildren, and all humankind — a mission he fulfilled in countless ways. Those who knew him cherished him as more than an entrepreneur, more than an inventor, and even more than the icon so many people saw him as. He was the heart of Duggal Visual Solutions— a truly beautiful soul who will be missed dearly and honored each day. Together, the Duggal family and team will carry on Duggal’s legacy and vision, states a company-issued release.
A public memorial will be held 3 p.m. on July 6 at the Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn, New York. In lieu of flowers, there is a request that donations be made to the Duggal Big Picture Foundation at gofundme.com/duggalbigpicture.