A sad end for Bourne & Shepherd
One of the longest-running photographic studios in the world has come to an end. The business began in 1840 when a studio was established in Kolkata (or Calcutta, as the British called it then). It grew into the most successful commercial photographic firm in India, called Bourne & Shepherd from 1866 until its closure the other day.
At its peak the business had studios in Shimla (Simla), Kolkata (Calcutta) and Mumbai (Bombay), and did tremendous business in studio portraiture, views of places, and records of social and political events. It passed through a long series of owners before its sale to the last one, Jayant Gandhi.
In 1991 a fire in the building the studio had occupied in Kolkata since the nineteenth century destroyed a large part of the valuable archive of negatives—a huge setback for the business. Mr Gandhi was able to keep going by doing film processing and printing but, with the move to digital photography and online display of images, that business has shrunk and the aging owner cannot continue. So Bourne & Shepherd, Artists & Photographers has closed.