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HomeContents > People > Photographers > William J. Johnson

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Names:
Other: William Johnson 
Joint: Johnson & Henderson 
 
  
Clerk and assistant in the Uncovenanted Civil Service in Bombay (1848-1861). From 1852-1854 he had a Daguerreotype studio in Bombay and a photographic studio that ran until the late 1860s. In 1854 he was a founding member and secretary of the Bombay Photographic Society and editor of its journal. In collaboration with William Henderson he produced The Indian Amateurs Photographic Album (1856-1858) which included three original prints with each issue. On his return to England he published The Oriental Races and Tribes, Residents and Visitors of Bombay (2 Vols, London, 1863 – 1865) which was the earliest ethnographical work published in India to include photographs.

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John Falconer, British Library 
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia

 
Commercial, India
Uncovenanted Civil Service, Bombay
1848 Clerk, Judicial Department, Bombay.
1849-51 Clerk, General Department, Secretariat, Kalbadavie, Bombay.
1852 Assistant, General Department, Secretariat, Girgaum, Bombay.
1853-4 Assistant, General Department, Secretariat, Grant’s Road, Bombay.
1855-9 Assistant, Judicial Department, Secretariat, Colaba, Bombay.
1860-1 Assistant, Judicial Department, Secretariat, Girgaum, Bombay.
1861 Last appearance in Residents list.
 
Founder member of the Bombay Photographic Society, 1854 and Secretary of Society, [?1854]-Feb 1855; selected to edit society’s journal with W. H. S. Crawford (qv) from 1855;[1] his collodion portrait of a cavalry officer shown to the society.[2] His work was much praised by the society: ‘Mr Johnson, who, we believe, has devoted his energies chiefly to this process [wet collodion], deserves to be placed first on the list. His full plate portraits and groups were full of life and vigour, - the positions artistic, the focussing and tone excellent’. [3]
 
William Johnson is recorded as a daguerreotypist, Grant’s Road, 1852-4, and photographer, 1855-60. William Henderson is listed as a photographer, 1855-66. The pair were briefly in partnership in the mid-1850s and collaborated on the production of the monthly Indian Amateurs Photographic Album (1856-8), each issue containing 3 original photographs. Johnson published The Caves of Karla illustrated (1861) and was also the author and photographer of Oriental races and tribes, residents and visitors of Bombay (2 vols, London, 1863-66).
 
W. Johnson, photographer, Bombay, 1856 (Bombay Times Calendar and Almanac).
Johnson and Henderson, photographers, Meadow Street, Bombay, 1858 (Bombay Times Calendar and Almanac).
W. Johnson, photographer, Girgaum, Bombay, 1862 (Bombay Calendar and Almanac).
W. Johnson, photographer, Grant Road, Bombay, 1863-(65) (The Times of India Calendar and Directory).
 
[??Is he the same William Johnson who is recorded as dying at Simla in 1886, aet 77, an uncovenanted pensioner (L/AG/34/14A/4 ff. 14, 15a.); check also N/1/195 f. 261. One of his sons is noted as being W.J. Johnson of Agra. The publisher of The Oriental races and tribes was W.J. Johnson of Fleet Street.] 
  
 
  

Footnotes 
  
  1. Λ Journal of the Bombay Photographic Society (15 Jan 1855). 
      
  2. Λ Journal of the Bombay Photographic Society (17 Jan 1855). 
      
  3. Λ Journal of the Bombay Photographic Society (Feb-Jun 1856). 
      
 
  

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