Kolkata: city of perplexity

Kolkata (Calcutta) is the capital of West Bengal, India, home to over 14 million Calcuttans. Every breath one takes in this heaving city brings this fact to life: it’s crowded, massive, filthy and generally an awkward place to be. Yet, it’s all of these factors coming together that makes Kolkata such an interesting place to live.

I decided to live in Kolkata for a month, in the hope of assimilating the Calcuttan way of life whilst documenting the people of this city living their lives.

Seemingly everything happens on the streets of this crazed city: Want to score some weed? Dealers are all over the city, on the main streets to shady dark ally’s. Need a legal document typed? There’s a district full of gentlemen busily typing away. Need to use a toilet? EVERY STREET IS A TOILET. If you need it, it will be in the streets.


My aim was to capture the essence of Kolkata: the people, the inequality, the commerce and the abnormality. This lead me to spend most of my days and nights traversing my way through this colossal city in a state of perpetual perplexity.

Calcutta left me with so many impressions: some positive, some negative, most of them confused. In other words, it’s a place to experience.

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James Knox is a documentary photographer and EIC of Flint.