A portrayal of the unique and vibrant city of Calcutta, shown in an intriguing array of captivating and visually arresting photographs
Photographer Laura McPhee, noted for her stunning large-scale landscapes and portraits of the people who live and work in them, has been traveling to eastern India for over a decade. There she has devoted her perceptive vision to picturing layers of history, culture, religion, and class as they appear in private heritage homes and public markets, in lively street festivals, and in the faces of city dwellers in Calcutta (also known as Kolkata).
This exquisitely produced book features a selection of McPhee's works made in and around India's former capital. Here we glimpse courtyards, living spaces, temples, and altars as both vestiges of the past and elements of contemporary urban existence. McPhee's images sensitively penetrate the surface to show the blurred boundaries between social classes, the blending of public and private life, and the resonance between India and other parts of the world. Also included are a foreword by Amitav Ghosh on the historical divisions inherent in the city's culture and on the nature of McPhee's work, and an essay by art historian Romita Ray on the ways McPhee captures and distills the remnants of colonial Calcutta in her photographs of the contemporary city.
Laura McPhee, professor of photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, has published her work extensively. Amitav Ghosh has published many novels, including River of Smoke, Sea of Poppies, and The Shadowlines. Romita Ray is associate professor of art history at Syracuse University and author of Under the Banyan Tree (Yale).