'Benares - General View From Opposite Bank Of The Ganges', c 1865.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photograph of the view across the River Ganges looking towards the city of Benares, taken by Samuel Bourne. Benares (or Varanasi) is the Holy City of the Hindus. There are 1,500 golden shrines in the city, which is on the banks of the River Ganges, the most sacred river of the Hindu religion. Bourne, a pioneer of travel photography, began his working life as a bank clerk. ln 1863 he went to India where he established a studio in Simla, in partnership with Charles Shepherd. Between 1863 and 1870 he undertook several photographic expeditions, including trips to the Himalayas, producing a collection of landscape views unsurpassed in technical skill and compositional elegance. By 1870 the Bourne and Shepherd catalogue contained 2,000 views from all parts of the subcontinent.