Review of the book
“ Where GODS Reside”
Mala Mukerjee ,Photographer
Text by Jael Silliman.
At the outset, I would like to offer my sincere thanks and gratitude to Niyogi Books Private Ltd., New Delhi, for sending me the book named ‘Where Gods Reside’ for review.
It is fairly widely known that Kolkata has several famous and popular religious places of India. However, the tremendous diversity and range of the many religions that are represented here is not often remembered. This book is a timely reminder of Kolkata’s secular and plural religious culture.
NAME OF THE BOOK
The name of the book, ‘Where Gods Reside’, gives an indication of the contents of the book. The cover page is beautifully done. One half of it has a lovely sketch of the famous Howrah bridge at sunset with a boat sailing under it on the Hoogli river. The other half has a few very attractive photographs of famous religious and other places of Kolkata. All these images help to place the city of Kolkata in the minds of readers very aptly in purely pictorial terms.
They say that “the morning shows the day”. You realize how appropriate the adage is when you hold the book in your hands !
The cover page is designed very simply and elegantly, and gives the reader a very good idea of its contents. For me, it is a guide to Kolkata’s religious history. It will help readers of varied interests to rediscover this precious heritage.
GET-UP, PRINT AND COLOUR QUALITY OF THE BOOK
Considering the price of the book, the quality and paper that has been used in the book is good, with the ink, colour and font very well synchronized. The quality of paper used in the inside pages of the book has a feel ranging from matty to glossy. The cover page is made, very sensibly, of thick paper (may be more than 400 gsm) which, I think, is better than a hard cover which adds weight and makes it inconvenient to carry a book around on trips.
CONTENT OF THE BOOK
The book is a comprehensive guide book on Kolkata’s composite culture. It gives the reader a feel for the diverse religious history of the city and encourages him to explore its many visual delights. This is done by using more than 100 photographs. The history and the background of these places have interesting stories behind them. These are told crisply and engagingly and in fair detail by using a few deft strokes of the pen. The stories are accurate and there is a lightness of touch that the reader will find appealing and, at the same time, enlightening. All photographs used in the book are in colour. If you are a photographer or a traveller, or someone new to the city, my advice to you would be to buy the book now and read it.
Very thoughtfully, a reference road map of Kolkata is provided in the book where every place covered in the book is clearly marked.
This book may not tell you how to click this city, but it will open to you new possibilities you can explore and capture, no matter whether you are Hindu, Muslim or Christian, Jain, Parsee, Buddhist, Sikh, Brahmo, or whether you happen to believe in any other religion. All photographs in the book are taken in a straight-forward way, and they help the reader to connect with the different places very easily.
I would like to congratulate Mala Mukerjee for curating the photographs with great care about their contents, for their simplicity and rich artistic quality. I would also like to express my admiration for Jael Silliman for her easy and captivating narration of the history and background of the many places covered in the book. Obviously, a great deal of research has gone behind her work. The book is a combination of intellect and incisive visual power which will not only inform and enlighten the reader but also give him ideas of exploring new possibilities.
Personally, I visit different places in Kolkata and try to freeze pictorially its essence in terms of time and perspective. This book made me so excited and opened my eyes to new vistas of photographic exploration. I am sure it will help the reader look at Kolkata in a new light and help him to comprehend the many nuances of the fabric of Kolkata’s rich, inclusive and tolerant culture – the association of the city with respect for other cultures, for other people and their dignity.
The book is an important document related not only to past centuries but for the future as well.
The book is a combination of different tunes submerged into one eternal tune portraying the music of human history through time and its changing facets. It is a symbol of coexistence that suggests ideas of a veritable new religion called “World of Humanity and its Culture”.
The book is a “must have” for every artist, traveller, blogger and for people from all corners of our planet.
Some photographs of the book : “Where Gods reside”
About Photographer Mala Mukerjee
About Jael Silliman
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Reviewer : Raj Sarkar
About Raj Sarkar
Raj Sarkar is a Street Photographer and Educator. He holds MBA Degree in Finance and Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Application. He is the founder of World Photographic Forum, Curator of APF magazine Street Photography and also member of street photography collective called in-street. He loves exploring possibilities on street. His main object is to Freeze the emotions and actions of people. He delivers lecture on photography in various Colleges and institutions like IIM (Indian Institution of Management), Union Chappell school etc. He also conducts countless workshops on street photography. He also curates’ various exhibition and he has also been appointed as judge in various competition. Raj is a recipient of various awards, recently he has won the International Puskar Mela Contest, Wipplay "Color of India" contest, Finalist of Garuda World Photo contest and HIPA and his work has been exhibited worldwide. He reviews various gadgets and camera including Fuji x camera for Fujifilm. His article has been published in all renowned magazine and websites in the world like Fujilove, Street Photography Magazine, USA, Viewfind, APF Magazine, Smart Photography, Better Photography, Asian Photography, Chiiz magazine, Saveus,121 clicks, National Geographic and more. Recently his photographs has been showcased in London Street Photography Festival and Indian Photo Festival.