Photographic Society of Bengal

Photographic Society of Bengal was founded in Calcutta in January 1856. According to one account, photography was brought to British India in March 1840, almost immediately after it attained some perfection by the efforts of a French scientist Luise Daguerre and a British scientist William Henry Fox Talbot, and some seven months after the first demonstration of the Daguerre type in Paris. Calcutta residents first saw the camera in 1840. By 1844, FM Montario opened a professional photographic studio in Calcutta and the Photographic Society of Bengal was founded after six years of the event. It was in 1856 that the first photographic shots were taken in Dhaka. No details are available as to how and who took these photographs. By 1864, a few enterprising men of Dhaka took the initiative to introduce photography in the city. One Gopinath Datta opened a shop at the residence of Bhaghirath Saha near the mitford hospital where well produced wooden frame for photo binding was sold.

It was in the later part of the 19th century that the art of photography got its momentum in Dhaka under the patronage of Nawab khwaja ahsanullah (1846-1901) and his son Nawab khwaja salimullah (1871-1915). Khwaja Ahsanullah joined the Calcutta based Photographic Society of India in 1888. The Maharajas of Cooch Bihar and Tippera, and Lala Din Doyal of Indore were also members of the Society. Dhaka got its first photographic studio, RC Das and Sons, in 1910. The studio was located at Nawabpur Road. Mounting works were done here and camera and photographic materials such as films, plates, and paper were also sold from the studio.

east pakistan photographic society was established in Dhaka in 1950. The society, however, did not survive long because of organisational weaknesses. A new organisation, Bangladesh Photographic Society was formed in Dhaka in 1975. In the post-liberation period, the photographic of Dhaka started causing reputation in the international arena through their excellent works. So far Dhaka received about 300 international awards for photographic works. [Sharmin Naaz]

See also photography.