Sunday Post ~ Black and White ~ Calcutta , India

Kolkata, India, still popularly called Calcutta, even by the locals, is little changed since British rule.

This city of 15 million is a place of sensory overload. The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes can be confounding at times. The vibrancy of color in Kolkata can actually be distracting. The subtlety of light and texture can be lost. Black and white photography can add a sense of timelessness and mystery. It can provide starker contrasts, a purer image.

With that in mind, here are a few images of Kolkata life in black and white

Images of Calcutta IndiaThese men are struggling to load an effigy of the Goddess Durga on to a truck in preparation for the Durga Puja, one of the largest Hindu festivals in Northeastern India.

Images of Calcutta IndiaSitting in front of a store, or more accurately, sitting in a store front, these guys are busily chatting with others passing by. The man on the left is amused at me photographing them.

Small fishing boats are moored at quay along the River Hooghly in the heart of Kolkata.

Images of Calcutta IndiaPeering down one of the labyrinths of back alleyways where millions of Kolkata’s residents live.

Images of Calcutta IndiaAn open air street side butcher shop just down the street from the local Hindu Temple. A bit of a surprise because Hindus are predominately vegetarians.

Images of Calcutta IndiaRefresh yourself, or so the Coke sign behind the men suggest.

Images of Calcutta IndiaA man is starting to prepare his dinner on a small derelict cargo boat tied to the quay along the River Hooghly.

Thanks Jake for this weeks Sunday Post: Blank and White.

Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Wow! These images are amazing. I’ve never been to India, but my son told me about the way some people live there, when he got back from a business trip. Your photographs are certainly an eye-opener. Stunning.

  2. These word nicely in b&w.

    Sent from my iPad

    1. Thanks. I thought B&W works well here.

  3. These are stunning. The black and white accentuates a place that looks like time stood still…even the coke bottle.

    1. In many ways time has stood still. Thanks for your unbiased comment. 🙂

  4. Your photography show a simple life there……
    ….Excellent post for this week theme my friend…Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thanks Jake. Yes a simple life, but a hard one.

  5. Incredible images! So much life to it.

  6. Color sometimes gets in the way… these black and white shots reveal great composition that reinforces the motive of each photo. Very nice indeed.

    1. Thank you. Your comment is so encouraging.

  7. Your b&w seems to have a slight bit of brown or sepia in these photos. I love that touch, like cream in your coffee, it takes the edge off.

    1. Exactly. I tinted then just slightly to dial down the starkness a bit. I am glad to liked tint.

  8. Great captures Ron! By the way Bengali (native to W Bengal and therefore Calcutta) Hindus are not predominantly vegetarian. They cannot survive without their daily dose of fish 🙂 But yes a butchers shop near a temple is rather surprising.

    1. Thank you and thanks for clarifying for me. I just hope the fish comes from the Sundarban and not the Hooghly. 🙂 We were there during and for a week after Durga Puja. I think red meat was OK at some time after the festival? I know a lot of goats were butchered then.

  9. Imágenes que nos hacen ver lo distinta que es la vida allí, sobre todo me sorprende siempre, que aún llevando una vida dura como llevan muchas de estas personas, se les ve felices, muchas gracias por compartir, besos

    1. Indeed, life is very different and hard there. But, you are right, people do generally seem content and happy. Thank you for your comments. Besos a usted también. 🙂

  10. Fantastic images. They teem with life, much like the place, I suspect. Great job.

    1. Thank you for your comment my friend.

  11. This is a great stuff…. absolutely loved these pictures. Beautifully captures the mood of the vibrant city

  12. Fascinating shots from Calcutta, Ron! We didn’t get a chance to make it there during our recent Indian travels. How long did you and Lynne spend in India?

    1. I was in Calcutta for 2 weeks for a workshop and then met Lynne in Bangkok and on to Bali for 2 more weeks.

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