Photography was quickly recognized and adopted as a tool for nation building in the competitive milieu of the nineteenth century. In this way, photography fulfilled the twin demands of imperialism to categorize and organize the world. The modern sovereign embodying the history, myths, and culture of the nation is simultaneously of and above the laws of society situating them in a unique position to occupy multiple bodies. This paper comparatively analyzes the photographic portrait strategies used to represent Japan’s Emperor Meiji and Great Britain’s Queen Victoria, both of whom were the first monarchs in their respective countries whose likenesses were mass-produced. Examining the ways in which Emperor Meiji and Queen Victoria’s photographically interpolated themselves through official portraiture demonstrates the photograph’s role as a political agent with an endless flexibility to adapt to different geographical and cultural contexts. Through the plasticity of photography, these rulers’ multiple bodies were able to be recorded.