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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Johnston & Hoffmann

Other: P.A. Johnston 
Other: Theodore Julius Hoffman 
Other: Theodore Julius Hoffmann 
Active:  India
Theodore Julius Hoffmann and P.A. Johnston. Calcutta Studio established in 1882. Darjeeling Studio established in 1890. Hoffmann took over the business on the death of Johnston in 1891. Simla branch opened in mid 1890s. It should be noted that a studio was opened in Rangoon, Burma sometime around 1890 although not much is known about it, or when it closed. Hoffmann joined John Claude White in July 1891 on a trip to Tibet and later published White‘s photographs. The company closed somewhere in the 1950s. Probably, after the studios of Bourne and Shepherd, the second largest commercial photographers in India with their large catalog of views of North and Northeastern India, Sikkim and Nepal.

At times the surname Hoffmann is written as Hoffman with a single n.

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

Commercial, India
Founded in 22 Chowringhee Road, Calcutta around 1882, with a Darjeeling branch managed by Hoffmann from around 1890. Mounts of some photographs in 1890s also advertise Shimla branch. Business managed by P.A. Johnston (d.1891) and Theodore Julius Hoffmann (c.1855-1921). Burma branch at 70 Phayre Street, Rangoon, 1889-90. From 1905 until the 1930s the business was managed by A. D. Long. Still trading in 1950s. By the early 1900s they were also offering an extensive series of views of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and its ruined cities.
Theodore Julius Hoffmann (b. c. 1855; d. Calcutta, 13 Dec 1921). Running Darjeeling branch of Johnston and Hoffmann from c.1890. In Jul 1891 he made a trip to Kanchinjunga with John Claude White (qv), described in Exploration in Sikkim, to the north-east of Kanchinjinga (Royal Geographical Society proceedings, no.9, Sep 1892, pp.613-8). Died of heart failure and buried in Lower Circular Road Cemetery, Calcutta.
According to Alister Macmillan, Seaports of India and Ceylon (1928), the business was founded in 1880. In 1928 it was under the management of A. D. Long, at 22 Chowringhee Road, Mr Long having been with the firm since 1905.
Assistants included E. Buckland, R. Jupe, James Johnston, P. A. Herzog. P. Higgins (see Herzog and Higgins).
Their work is mentioned in the Royal Society Proceedings for 1892 (p. 204):
‘We have had many views of the snows from the neighbourhood of Daejiling. Dr Boeckh, a German, has carried his camera up to the great range, and given in the ‘Transactions’ of the Deutschen Alpenverein (1891) some excellent illustrations of Himalayan views, and M. de Déchy has taken a few views of or near the snows. But the views here shown, taken by Darjiling photographers, Messrs. Johnston and Hoffmann, are the first of any importance, published in England, that display as seen close at hand – from levels, that is, of 16,000 to 18,000 feet – the peaks and glaciers of Kinchinjanga…’

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Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Johnston & Hoffmann.] 
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