Kolkata. April 2017
These words instill a sense of belonging — to our past, to our heritage, to our culture and our roots. Much like the Instagram account going by the name Calcutta Houses, which seeps into your skin through its visuals and compositions.
This photography project was started by three friends—Manish Golder, Sidhartha Hajra, and Sayan Dutta. Their goal is to archive the city’s 19th century heritage homes which are gradually deteriorating as modern civilization paves its way into the crevices of the city.
The project is immensely inspired by an ongoing project called Calcutta Architectural Legacies which is an initiative that was started by author Amit Chaudhuri and some of the city’s architects and conservationists. It is a campaign that is directed towards conserving the de-listed heritage properties of Kolkata.
The tints and the tones of the houses take you back in time where things were still moving at a slower pace, when people would stop by to talk to each other, ask for each other’s well-being, paint their houses red and pay attention to the aesthetics of that time.
It is infused with this idea of memories, the history of the city’s people, as seen in the timeless houses. Using the medium of photography and illustrations, we look to capture the spirit of ‘many in body, one in mind.
Dutta, a graphic designer whose illustrations of Kolkata’s windows are part of the project, told Quartz.
Instagram was chosen as the platform to display these images because of its focus on visuals.
Availability of the technology of the phone camera which is non-invasive, discreet, powerful, instant, records location and other archival attributes easily. Also, Instagram as a platform allows you to focus on visuals and retains the immediacy.
Golder told Quartz.
These pictures serve as a reminder of who we were and what are we becoming. Stories are something all of us thrive on. Our lives are about stories and each of these structures tell a story worth narrating. To inspire, to love and to live.
These heritage houses not only carry memories of old Kolkata but also the British Empire, at the time of which, these buildings got commissioned and are still surviving until now. Some are occupied, some deemed unfit to live in.
Along with the photo stories, Calcutta House also showcases ‘Kolkata’s windows’, an illustrative project that projects beautiful, vintagey artsy windows.
We love the classic balconies beautifully abutting the old houses in Calcutta and reminding us of the quaint neighbourhoods of the sixties.
Isn’t this the perfect Instagram account to spend your Sunday afternoon with along with some hot chocolate?
Follow this account here.