John Falconer, British Library
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia
7 Esplanade Row, Calcutta. mid-1860s. The pair showed 60 views at the Bengal Photographic Society Exhibition of 1864-5, fifty of them being a series entitled Records of the Cyclone. Print entitled A street scene in Calcutta by J.F. Pearson of Petter and Co. given free to members of the Bengal Photographic Society with the fourth number of the journal.
The report of the 1864 exhibition noted that ‘much attention was paid to a collection of views taken immediately after the Cyclone by Mr Pearson’, considering that ‘they will say more in Europe than any written description of this terrible hurricane’, and went on to give a more detailed account of the taking of the pictures:
‘Nos. 161 to 220, MESSRS. PEARSON AND PETTER. - Of the sixty works contributed by Messrs. Pearson and Patterson, fifty belong to a series of ‘Records of the Cyclone’, in which are depicted some of the views of Wreck and Ruin which that calamity made so common. Many of these are very striking and cannot fail to interest as ‘Records’; as photographs, however, they are not quite so satisfactory. There is a want of cleanness and finish in them, which, may probably be due to the haste, with which they must necessarily have been taken, and many other difficulties which must have been encountered in their production. It cannot have been an easy thing to secure so many views in a few days amongst half demolished houses, uprooted trees, and dismantled ships, on the busy banks of the river, and in other places where unusual confusion and disorder must have increased the ordinary hindrances and obstacles which a photographer meets with in the open air. Under such circumstances some shortcomings would be inevitable, and considerable allowance on that score must be made accordingly...’ [continues with an account of the other pictures shown by the firm].
- Λ Journal of the Bengal Photographic Society, vol III, no.10, December 1864, pp. 11-12.