Old Court House Street, Calcutta by Johnston and Hoffman
This is a photograph/postcard of Old Court House Street in Calcutta (7088) taken by the commercial photography firm, Johnston & Hoffman. They were active in Calcutta and the wider Bengal region from around 1870-1918. Some of their photographs are held in the Royal Commonwealth Society Photographs Collection , Cambridge, UK. We would like to investigate this studio in further detail, and to produce a visual compendium of how they saw and captured Calcutta in their ‘commercial’ prints and postcards.
Their everyday street scenes capture ordinary life and rarely show the classic iconic views and buildings associated with tourist postcards. The idea behind these images was to convey the ordinary, almost banal quotidian street scene. Calcutta is not being presented here as the quixotic, oriental or ‘other’. Instead we see classical architecture, jewellry shops. There is an efficient tram system running along purposefully straight streets, and terminating with an ‘English’ church steeple (barely visible in this poor quality scan).