// Saibal is a photographer from Kolkata, India. Photography for him is about capturing expressions and emotions that are priceless in a frame. He enjoys walking through the streets of his city. In the magazine we are featuring a set of his photos from the pottery artisans of Kumortuli in Northern Kolkata.
Saibal has been photographing for the past five or six years, engaging in many genres of photography, such as fashion, product, wedding, and event photography, but his biggest interest turned out to be street photography. While employed professionally at a private company in Bengaluru, he started photography through the influence of a friend during his college days and later it turned out to be a way to relax from the everyday pressures of life. Saibal says, “In my free times I always try to imagine frames from moments of life, and so my interest moved more towards street photography. This is because the story and frames that I see everyday are always different from the previous ones, every frame shows me stories and feelings to capture. Everyday I learn new things from my surroundings or through the works of other photographers, which I find very interesting. I would like to continue to learn more and improve my work and show to others my perspective of the world.”
“Life is a Stage AND we all are Artists.”
What draws you to the arts?
“Emotions and stories.”
What impresses you most about the pottery artisans?
“Kumortuli, which is a traditional potters’ colony in northern Kolkata (kumor meaning potter, and tuli referring to easily walkable localities within a quarter or half a mile), where they have been doing this for the last 300 years, doing the same thing generation after generation. These clay sculptors do not possess any school/university degrees to achieve the perfection of their beautiful works, which are acclaimed everywhere. They live a very simple life, as their only mode of income is through idol making. Visiting Kumortuli is always exciting and interesting, as every time one visits the place one gets to see new things.”
We have previously reported about the Bengal artisans who create sculptures of gods and goddesses (“Murti”). Such statues are used in festival processions and are also decorating Hindu temples and homes.
In Kolkata, the area of Kumortuli is renowned for its skilled sculptors. The potters of Kumortuli have traditionally sourced the clay from the river beside their home, in previous centuries making pots to be sold at the bazaar. They have managed to survive in the area even as other artisans were forced to leave. The images of gods and goddesses are not only used for various community festivals, temples and homes, but also regularly exported.
We are pleased to share Saibal´s beautiful images about the potters and their artworks and hope you enjoy these insights into a traditional Indian artisan craft.
Some photos may be cropped for layout. Click on the photos to see the full image.