Sutirtha Chatterjee

6x6 Asia Talent: Sutirtha Chatterjee, India

“Sutirtha Chatterjee is working on the subject of people with albinism, who are actually blind in a different way. His exploration of their feelings towards nature is very fascinating.” - Salil Bera, India, deputy photo editor, The Week, and 6x6 nominator.

Sutirtha Chatterjee is a freelance photographer based in Calcutta, India. 

The Mysterious Forest

The Mysterious Forest is a series of images exploring a fictional story created in collaboration with visually impaired students from West Bengal, India. The photographer first met partially blind siblings, Reema and Ashraful, on an editorial assignment in 2016 at a blind school in Calcutta, India.

Working together, they visually illustrated a story written by Ashraful, inspired by one of his recurring dreams in which a boy loses his way in a forest and meets a forest spirit (Pari) with whom he goes on adventures. The role of the Pari is played by Reema, his sister, while Ashraful portrays the lost boy protagonist. "According to local folklore, the Pari in one world is a spirit in another. What they both have in common is a fondness for water and bright flowers," said Chatterjee. The Mysterious Forest shows the fears, hopes, and fantasies of the visually impaired, aiming to facilitate the students' self-expression, inspire sensitivity, and challenge the stigma and stereotypes surrounding blindness in the region.
Untitled 8, 18 October 2019.

Untitled 10, 23 October 2019.

Untitled 13, 22 December 2019.

Untitled 14, 10 January 2018.

A New World

In 1995, by the order of the undersecretary of the Governor of West Bengal, all land and water bodies of Rajarhat, one of the most fertile regions of West Bengal, India, were acquired under the colonial-era Land Acquisition Act (1894). By May 1999 landowners were sent eviction notices and farmers unwilling to accept them were subjected to intimidation and brutality.

A New World is a look at development in India through the lens of the ‘smart townships’ promised by the Indian government with the objective of developing sustainable and inclusive smart cities across the country. The photographer shot the series of images while walking along the boundaries of Rajarhat, a township in Calcutta under development as part of the program.

"This dream is built around a narrative of modernization that is created by the government in the name of nation-building. The villagers feel that their voices are not heard under such an idea of a modern nation. My perspective of the place was shaped by listening to the stories of people who agreed to share their experiences of fear, loss, hope, and the possibility of change. I attempted to reflect on these stories through visual metaphors. These metaphors relate to the reality of the place and are used as references to the insidious violence that has ripped through the region for decades." - Sutirtha Chatterjee
The hand of a construction worker in Rajarhat, Calcutta, India, on 14 March 2019. After losing their land, many farmers resorted to contractual labor in the city with low pay and poor working conditions. 
A Ptyas mucosa snake in Rajarhat, Calcutta, India, on 25 December 2019.

A burning book. Many farmers claim that the history of discrimination and state-sponsored violence has been systematically erased by the government. Rajarhat, Calcutta, India, 26 March 2019.

Portrait of a farmer in New Town, Rajarhat, Calcutta, India, on 2 March 2020.

Discover work by the 6x6 Asia talents, and find out about 6x6’s nomination and selection process.