A first time visit, a new experience to be unraveled in the infamous City of Joy. Was it going to be a flowery or a joyful experience for us? This blog by any means isn't a 'What to do in Kolkata' experience. It is a journey of a few days through the city and a personal state of a photography blissfulness that we achieved. The photos in the blog is purely in 2 colours - Black and White. We will link some images which we think also look good in all colours. So feel free to click on those links and enjoy the other rendition.
Reaching there from Bangalore definitely made us realise what a difference of weather would mean to us. When the sun just starts to peep out in Bangalore, Kolkata is already on its feet with smaller business units thriving and the trams ringing their bells. So it's early in the morning, when dawn breaks and the trams are in full throttle, and the tram drivers are managing traffic because the traffic signals aren't switched on.
In the image above, on the right hand side, a horse was stranded on a tram line. The irony is that the first tram to cross the Howrah bridge was a horse driven tram.
The interiors of the tram is a sense of melancholy, and that the seats that have heard multiple stories of millions of lives of the people. To see the above image in colour, click here
We explored a lot of these hidden scenes and spaces with the help of Soham, our friendly guide at Calcutta Capsule. You can find him here. If you are a photographer, we suggest the Magic Hour Tour.
A distinct image of Kolkata is from the yellow taxis driving their age old Ambassador cars. Your time in the city is incomplete without a ride in it. Yes, be ready to bargain with the pricing.
Yellow is apparently a colour of beautification. So here's a coloured version of the above shot.
This was our first time at street photography. The unresolved question of 'What will people tell' when we photograph them has partially been resolved, as we haven't yet tried this in our hometown. Street photography is definitely a storehouse for candid shots, of emotions, of character, of significance and of life. Were we stopped when we tried to take pictures of strangers? Yes, perhaps once or twice, but that was also declined politely, which is what you would like as a photographer with trembling hands. Below are series of images taken on the streets, in flower markets and of life springing alive for the day.
The Howrah bridge or the Rabindra Setu is a synonym to the cities Kolkata and Howrah. India's only cantilever bridge, connecting the two cities is full of vehicles and life 24/7.
We also took the ferry from Howrah to Kumartoli. More about Kumartoli after the next few images from the boat. There were kids who would hang on to the ferries and jump off board into the water. It was one of the most interesting sights to witness.
Kumartoli is a place of art, it is a place of craftsmanship and of hard work. Here skilled workers create beautiful idols of Gods and Goddesses with clay extracted from the beds of the Ganga. Durga Puja is when the city comes alive with the festivities spread over 5 days and the workers at Kumartoli are the ones people reach out to for their idols. This was a very intimate connection to the artwork as both of us enjoy it very much. This is a place where you can really ask, who came first 'God or Man'?
We whine and complain when God doesn't take care of us, but what does a God do when humans discard them? A typical example in the below image.
Did you notice Newton reincarnated?
There are some doors that lead you into silence. This was one such door(below image), that led us into a temple at least 200 years old. This was a distinct Red coloured door, we think it looks fabulous in B&W, but here's the coloured version.
Kumartoli is a must visit if you're in Kolkata. The process of softening the clay, the structuring, the designing and the finish is all seen here. The lively and non intimidating people add to it's charm.
Some narrow alleyways in the Southern side near Bhawanipur made for some interesting subjects.
There are some iconic landmarks of Kolkata like Victoria memorial which has opened up it's gallery for photography. We definitely took some advantage of that.
Yes, since this is a long exposure shot that we really liked, we would like you to see the colour version here
Before we headed to Princep Ghat, we wanted to satiate our hunger, so we headed to an Italian restaurant called "Fire and Ice". It has an Italian ambience and feel to it. What stood out was the Bottle of oil placed on our tables. We have the colour version of it here.
We then headed to James Princep Ghat for the sunset view of the 2nd Hoogly bridge and boy was it beautiful! We had almost given up on the sunset due to the low cloud cover. It added to the mood and drama, but the sun peeping out would have been glamourous. We patiently waited in the rain with the umbrella covering our cameras when the sun decided to pop out of the clouds and light up the sky.
The above shot looks gorgeous in colour too. You can view that here.
Kolkata was a fun ride for us in terms of photography. As residents of Bangalore, it was a tough experience in terms of getting adjusted to the weather over there. We can ignore that considering we have some memories and first time experiences for ourselves. It has brought in way more confidence in terms of street photography, in terms of meeting new people, spreading smiles, thanking them for offering help and giving us a holiday to remember.
Sneha and Vinod
P.S. We have another blog exclusively on Sundarban coming up shortly.