Regarded as one of the world’s oldest running photo studio ‘Bourne and Shepherd’ in Kolkata has been closed down after 176 years of rich legacy.
The studio was set up in central Kolkata’s Esplanade area in 1840 by famous British photographers William Howard, Samuel Bourne and Charles Shepherd.
“We closed it. Things are not the same anymore. Technology has changed and I have grown old. How will I run it,” the studio’s owner Jayant Gandhi told The Hindu.
Known for its portrait images, the studio photographed the Hindu religious leader Sree Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Apart from that, it had visitors like Satyajit Ray and Rabindranath Tagore.
Some of the most precious works of the studio now grace the walls of the Smithsonian group of museums in Washington, National Portrait Gallery in London, Cambridge University Library and National Geographic Society.
Things for the four-storeyed Gothic structure started going downhill after a fire broke out in the studio in 1991. And then, the advent of digital technology made it worse.
The fire broke the studio not only financially, but also destroyed pieces of history stored in the building.
A 174-year old Wet Plate Camera manufactured by W. Watson & Son, London, at Bourne and Shepherd
“How can you expect that a studio can operate in this generation where everyone is clicking photos from their mobiles and digital cameras? People don’t even want to take a print out of it and they just post it on Facebook,” said an ex-employee of the studio.