Calcutta (officially Kolkata, but even the major local newspaper still uses the old name), capital of West Bengal state, is one of the world's largest cities and has a steady reputation for poverty, misery and decay.
This reputation is generally very unfair, because Calcutta is also an amazingly friendly, peaceful and safe city. I have visited this great city many times and spent many hours walking through large parts of it. I have never had any trouble and never felt threatened. It is certainly a crowded, noisy and in parts rather dirty city, but among the noise and the dirt is a fantastic mix of urban grandeur and small town atmosphere, where every part of every street is like a stage where human daily life is endlessly performed for everyone to watch.
This picture was taken from the famous Howrah Bridge (Rabindra Setu) and shows the Mullik Ghat flower market near the Hooghly River and the commuter train line encircling the city.
A view from a slightly different angle can be seen in a workshop.
Critiques | Translate
gorky (4) 2009-03-27 6:05
I loved your view on Kolkata (Calcutta!). And this pic is great. A perfect picture of those busy times in the city. The train, and the colors of the flowers near the bottom left add richness to the image.
snunney (92440) 2009-03-27 6:15
A great capture of this lively animated scene. The point of view is well chosen with the diagonal placement of the railway train; whilst the flower sellers in the foreground add a nice splash of colour to contrast with the more dingy background. Sums up Indian city life.
jasmis (57906) 2009-03-27 6:34
Is this real face of Kolkata? I expected modern city instead...
Nevertheless a great doze of exotics.
edgarjediza (586) 2009-03-27 6:42
Looks like my own country, the Philippines. A small market near the railroad and houses less than two meters away from the track. People survives and life goes on. Thanks for sharing...
saxo042 (37730) 2009-03-27 8:10
A good picture with this diagonal train separating the scene in two, completely different parts. The foreground is indeed very crowded, but with a lot of attractive colours. But what is the structure in the background, the backside of some advertisment boards?
nirvana73 (0) 2009-03-27 10:04
very nice daily scene
here is very crowded place
i like moving atmosphere
TopGeo (38216) 2009-03-27 11:13
Hi,Gert! very nice daily scene with thehe train, and the colors Excellent moment good POV and perfect ws
I like your view of Calcutta!
Pentti (1469) 2009-03-27 11:24
Good urban reality photo with interesting notes. I would like to see more images like this here in TE. It really gives you more than the usual neat postcards. Probably the image looks as it is there, but it could be a bit enchanced if there is UV-haze or just the typical digital camera haze. The colors in India are splendid so a bit of postprosessing might do good. Hope you don't mind. Have a nice evening!
emka (89253) 2009-03-27 12:53
Hi Gert, it remind me the view of Mumbai. interesting view - os it a railway station? Typical I ndian market - so crowded, but as for india not so much garbage. I love such views. very colourful photo and so much details to see...
boa (6895) 2009-03-27 12:56
I agree with you about Calcutta, dirty, noisy, overcrowded etc
but friendly and extreme colorful. I think your picture is a good example of how it actually looks like, in many places here. I like how the train comes in between the houses and the market. So much is going on in this picture.. it`s Calcutta ! Tfs !
serp2000 (42480) 2009-03-28 2:04
Excellent shot, I never been in this country.Very exotic place. Fine POV, good colours and nice details. TFS!
Have a nice weekend!
pastadog (13111) 2009-03-29 3:07
Hi Gert - Excellent urban post, including your note and the workshop. I actually prefer the workshop, more focused, with attractive Indian elements and the people on the train. In this one we have a wider view of the scene, and maybe I'd crop out a little bit from the top so as to exclude the sky. Regards, Daniel.
fanni (14381) 2009-03-29 14:04
oh really, Calcutta! I'm looking at this place (+ the WS photo) and think that it is one of the most interesting "street scenes" I have ever seen: there is so much to see there. I can only guess how it feels to be there in reality, but I think this photo conveys the spirit (or at least part of it) of the city.
Concerning the composition - the perspective, I think it's very good :)
molla (7129) 2009-03-30 1:02
This is India.
The green and cream train, the hazy slum area in background,
all the people the colors and the the totally living environment.
About Kolkata there's never ending discussion at our editorial desk which name to use.
what do you say as a Journalist in foreign affairs.
Hälsar Anders från ett vårigt Gnesta
Kielia (24077) 2009-03-30 10:40
excellent capture of this busy place with a fantastic atmosphere. One can even hear the noise and smell the air. I also like your note. And I agree to Pentti concerning the value of images like this one. TFS!
kschanna (6) 2009-04-04 4:44
Can marygolds be seperated from India? a no-brainer NO,
So rich are the colors and the mood that its blinding.
Thanks for sharing
npecanhuk (71976) 2009-04-04 5:11
Wow, what a mess!
Anyway... an excellent picture of daily life!
Very well chosen high pov, adequate sharpness and exposure, natural colors, well done composition!
TFS - Congratulations!
mafegan (8624) 2009-04-07 5:10
People, people everywhere and plenty of fruit and veges to feed them all. An amazing street scene with so much activity. This is incredible India. A good pov to show so much of everything. I have been there once a long time ago. Tfs, Marlene
Angshu (56738) 2009-05-15 3:13
Belonging to this city, how can I ignore this shot of yours. Actually I was expecting to see some shots from NE India, but I found some of Assam. What about the other NE states which you visited? Two different views, this a bit wider & possibly I prefer the WS post. It truly must be crazy & chaotic for your & other Western eyes...but how we thrive in it! That's why we love Kolkata. Thanks also for your words in the note about my city
mathieu_greg (354) 2010-04-08 6:35
A lot of things to say about this photo!!
A lot of things happens... the train, the market, the shantytown...
kato (11630) 2013-10-30 11:17
You're capturing well this place by a good angle and excellent tone/clarity, so it's interesting and impressive to see the place of bustle with a life breath in Calcutta. I can see many elements of flower market, commuter train, old/crowded houses and many residents, as you note in here. And, it's also impressive in colorful flowers and colorful clothes of resident.
abmdsudi (48705) 2014-04-21 21:50
A superb inclusion, trains are still a fundamental part of Calcutta's traffic confusion, an amazing street photography full of life swarming with humanity giving the impression of the hectic city life here. You have turned this elevated wide view just looking at it has the effect of natural colour-popping to grab the eye and it does have impact full of dynamism. A shot excellently seized the right opportunity well detailed especially with the angular formation, great clarity and exposure. A fascinating shoot, TFS
- Copyright: Gert Holmertz (holmertz) (47024)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2009-03-18
- Categories: Daily Life, Transportation, Architecture
- Camera: Canon Digital Ixus 750
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): Urban life [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2009-03-27 6:01