The Calcutta Diaries

The India Project
A 100-day project in India, observing and picturing the lives of young women of Calcutta:
- college students;
- the Missionaries of Charity and other social workers;
- modern business women;
- slum women;
- artists and art students;
- prostitutes.
A strong bond with all the portrayed women, stealing their reflections and emotions, gathering materials and taking hundreds of photographs, making the women and their families take snapshots, would lead to a collection of visual stories. E.g. a personal experience of giving lessons to children of Calcutta prostitutes, led to a set of photo-portraits taken by the children of their mothers. A specially designed day-bag collecting system divided the journey into single days, enabling Zwierzyñska to tell the story day-by-day in a form of a travel diary.

Consequently, a daily choice of the most important object/photograph/event out of the bags, resulted in a rich collection, which, together with the things chosen later back in The Netherlands finally formed a book, a tour through the lives of young Indian women - "The Calcutta Diaries". The book offers a free choice of ‘zapping’ through the different chapters of a travel-guide like index.

It consists of two parts: a 140-page, full-color photocopied hard cover image book and a double folded 16-page black & white newspaper made up of hand-written diary pages. Sized respectively 29x16 cm and 39x27 cm, hand bound and packed in a transparent zip-up bag, the book was published in November 1998 by Holland’s largest photocopying machines producer Océ-Nederland BV and Agata Zwierzyñska (100 copies).


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