“History Lost” – Oldest Photographic Studio of the World ‘Bourne and Shepherd’ Kolkata Closed

Samuel Bourne - Hunters and Trophies India-
Samuel Bourne - Hunters and Trophies India-

“Raj given name Calcutta changed to Kolkata, One of the last Calcutta aura is lost in history today”

A legend was born in central Kolkata’s Esplanade area in 1840 by three famous British photographers William Howard, Samuel Bourne and Charles Shepherd, the studio was regarded as the oldest running photographic studio in the world.

Digital age of photographic advancement killed the old boy of the game;One of the world’s oldest running photo studio ‘Bourne and Shepherd’ here has closed shop after 176 years of rich legacy. Ironically IBG NEWS purchased first DSLR from this famous studio.


Calcutta Changed to Kolkata, One of  the last Calcutta aura is lost in history today. A great details can be found here on Historic Details.

“We closed it on Thursday. 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 said.

Now in his seventies, Gandhi said he would try his best to preserve the studio archives equipment and the old camera used by the legendary photographers. Government of India and State Government must take the initiative to preserve the history and make that location an tourist spot, Even British Government must also participate to the cause


A landmark in heritage map of the British Kolkata, the Gothic four-storeyed historic structure which was the house of landmark studio now looks lost every charm and deserted, but was the center of attraction with visitors like Oscar winning film director Satyajit Ray and nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore,Benu Sen etc. .


Legendary studio known for its portrait images and artistic photography, the studio has the honour of photographing the well-known Hindu religious leader Sree Ramakrishna Paramhansa guru of Swami Vivekanada and inspiration for many spiritual leaders.

British era and aura of Raj has been artistically framed and captured by the master photographers of the studio, 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.

Bourne and Shepherd were the official photographers for the 1911 ‘Delhi Durbar’ after which they received the title of ’Kaiser-e-Hind’.

A fire in 1991 not only destroyed the studio artifacts but also broke it financially. Many famous photographs and negatives were destroyed,part of history lost then and finally closed now.


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.

It is the high time where Asiatic Society , Indian museum and Archaeological Survey of India must join hand to preserve the remaining artifacts of Time before it is too late.