Cowley left few traces of his life, but those clues that do exist indicate a serious interest in photography in India. In 1855, he wrote from the outpost of Cawnpore (Kanpur) that “Indian photographers would do well to turn more of their attention to the ‘calotype’ process, which is so simple and certain in its effects, and far less expensive than any of the waxed-paper ones.” Two years later, during the rebellion of 1857, Cawnpore came under siege, leading to a massacre, which Cowley obviously survived, for in 1860 he published a tract of practical instructions for photography in India.
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012.
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