World’s Oldest Photo Studio In Kolkata Shuts Down After 176 Years, Know About It

The Logical Indian

June 24th, 2016 / 5:31 PM

Image Source: Roshan Rao flickr

May 15th – The last of the best
If you are a fan of Satyajit Ray’s Bengali super sleuth Feluda, then you must remember the famous narrative from “Gorosthane Sabdhan”, where Felu Mitter discovers that “B.S.”, a clue written on a slip of paper, actually stands for “Bourne & Shepherd”. It is the same Bourne & Shepherd — one of world’s oldest photo studio — that put its shutters down May 15, after a rich legacy of 176 years, crumbling to advancement of modern digital technology.


Etched in Kolkata’s history

Established in heart of Central Kolkata’s Esplanade area in 1840 by British photographers William Howard, Samuel Bourne and Charles Shepherd, the iconic Bourne & Shepherd finally gave in to demands of modern age photography that rest upon digital improvisations. The studio stood as a landmark during the British-Raj era in Calcutta (Now Kolkata). Later, it became a hotbed of activities among the intelligentsias of Bengal including oscar winning director Satyajit Ray, nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, poet Sunil Gangopadhyay and others.


Portraits of saints and emperors

The studio bears the honour of capturing the portrait of the great Hindu religious leader Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Other mentionable works include an albumen print of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II while he was in exile under the British in 1858 and a portrait of Rudyard Kipling. Bourne & Shepherd captured some of important moments of the bygone British era, which now dons the walls of Smithsonian group of museums in Washington, National Portrait Gallery in London, Cambridge University Library and National Geographic Society.


The inevitable end

Both the photographers were given the title ‘Kaiser-e-Hind’ in 1911 for documenting ‘Delhi Durbar’ held to commemorate the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary as Emperor and Empress of India. Now, the building that houses the studio bears a deserted look. A 1991 fire inferno ravaged the studio destroying 90 percent of the print and incurring a major financial loss. Since then, the studio had lost its charm.  Studio’s present owner Jayant Gandhi told The Hindu, “Things are not the same anymore. Technology has changed and I have grown old. How will I run it.” Only a handful of some of those oldest frames and glass negatives are now left in the hands of the studio which has changed many owners in its long history.

 


Contributors

Edited by :

Share your thoughts..

Related Stories

Andrakashari Mastanamma

At 107, World’s Oldest YouTuber And Home Chef Mastanamma Passes Away

Anti Slogan BJP

Student Arrested For Shouting “Fascist BJP Govt Down, Down” At Tamil Nadu BJP President, Gets Bail

Shiv Sena Shuts School

Mumbai: Not Invited For Inauguration, Shiv Sena Corporator Allegedly Shuts Down School

Take A Walk Down The Memory Lane With Nakku Da, A 93-Year-Old Antique Collector From Kolkata

Mohan Bhagwat

Congress Ex-MLA Gets Two Years Of Jail After Morphing Photo Of RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

Trees Cut Down To Make Advertisements Visible

Dozens Of Trees Cut Down To Make Advertisements Visible; Activists Take It Down

Latest on The Logical Indian

News

Maharashtra Govt Publishes Job Recruitment Ad Under Maratha Quota, Bombay HC Asks Why

News

17 Months On, Kerala Govt Fails To Implement SC Order On Piravom Church Amidst Protest

Awareness

Why Air Pollution Debate Needs To Shift From Delhi To Other Cities?

News

Election Results: MP, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Telengana & Mizoram; Who Won Where?

News

Govt Rejects Army’s Demand For Implementation Of 7th Pay Commission

News

Rupee Opens 114 Paise Lower After Urjit Patel’s “Unfortunate” Resignation

x

Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.