Sutapa Roy

I was born and brought up in Kolkata. Being an elder daughter of a middle-class Bengali Hindu family, photography was not even in my frame as a profession. But, like all other free souls, I dared to do what was unlikely for my society. I left my job at the corporate office to pursue my passion for photography in the year 2015. Being an introverted person, I found my interest in the communicating power of the images, and slowly, my passion for this medium developed. I realized through this medium I can express my feelings and emotion generously. Photography is my cultivated passion and more than anything, it’s a personal need for me. However, I believe, it’s a strong medium that can shape up the thoughts, opinions, and ideas of society, maintaining the ethical value, as maintained in every work culture. I am basically a storytelling photographer; I work both on social issues and personal stories.

In search of a better life

It is 1 am sharp. The stormy wind is banging on the tin door that is barely locked, creating a displeasing sound in a continuous loop again and again. The heavy wind can tear apart the shack anytime. Sunita, lying with her seven-year-old daughter inside, closes her eyes in a hope to see a beautiful dream, perhaps about all the good things she had thought throughout the day while working in the brickfield.  

In search of a better life was born out of existential crisis of women workers and their children in brick making industry in India where their dreams and hope becoming the protagonist of the story come as an alternative way to endorse their identity, freedom and existence.

Presently brick manufacturing industry is booming with the expansion of real estate business in India. Sizable portion of the workers here are women who are trapped by the socio-economic system of unorganized working sector, exploited and abused by the social structure or the higher authorities. They come from different places of India in search of better living option. But extremely low wages, physical and mental exploitation, lack of social and health security, petrifaction and domination are leading them on the verge of existential catastrophe. Children are not only deprived from love and care, but also have to lend their hand in field or housework as their contributions can add to the total outcome.

But despite having all these hurdles, what inspires the photographer the most is they don’t stop living or quit on their hope and desire in life. Among all these instability and fragility, their reverie comes with a sense of big relief and hope to the story, and also in the life of the photographer. Throughout the journey, back and forth between reality and imagination, a subtle sense of aspiration gives them a feeling of strength and nous of continuation.

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