April 12, 2024

New Book Captures Calcutta in Photos

by Sonya K. Fry

OPC member Steven Raymer‘s five-year photographic project depicts Calcutta, a city of 15 million people, as a cultural, literary and intellectual center. His new book Redeeming Calcutta: A Portrait of India’s Imperial Capital [Oxford University Press] features such stories as migrant workers in the jute industry, 6,000 licensed rickshaw drivers and tasters of the largest tea auctioneer in the world. In addition to the photography, there is an essay on the history of Calcutta.

His photos also present the decrepit Victorian-era buildings left over from the time when Calcutta was capital of British India. He contrasts them with sprawling modern high-rises in Satellite Town and with the Howrah Bridge that carries more than 100,000 vehicles and a half-million pedestrians daily. Raymer, a consummate storyteller, will project his images onto a screen at the book night.

Raymer is currently a professor at Indiana University School of Journalism. Previously he directed the National Geographic Society News Service and was a National Geographic magazine staff photographer working in some 90 countries. He received the “Magazine Photographer of the Year” by the National Press Photographers Association in 1976 and a citation for excellence from the OPC in 1981 for his work on the worldwide trade in endangered animals. Raymer and the OPC collaborated on a program in the Fall of 2007 at the Asia Society on his book Images of a Journey: India in Diaspora.

The Book Night at Club Quarters, 40 West 45 Street, will begin at 6 p.m. with a Reception and the Talk at 6:30 p.m. To RSVP, call the OPC at 212-626-9220 or e-mail and select “RSVP to an Event” from the drop-down menu.