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Laura McPhee
The Home and the World

The Home and the World
Guardians of Solitude
Gateway
River of No Return
Driveway Portraits
Tea Pluckers
No Ordinary Land
Family

Kolkata’s extraordinary domestic architecture (particularly the 18th and 19th century houses of the zamindars of North Kolkata, a caste of landowners made rich by the Company) tells the story of past and present, of the evolution from colony to independence and beyond. The houses were built by Indians for Indians (rather than by the British for the British) and they follow their own unique architectural conventions that reflect both domestic customs and religious use. The households I photographed consist of unusual amalgams of internationally derived architectural styles overlaid by details of family life and personal history seen in the objects that adorn the rooms. These spaces speak to the vicissitudes of economic life and of time, to incipient globalization, to the blending of history with contemporary living, to family and changing traditions, and to the long and complex material and political relationship between India and the west.