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Life in a Furnace

Sudipta Dutta Chowdhury | India

Primitive furnaces. This furnaces belch out thick smoke day in and day out, contributing to kolkata's poor air quality.

Loading and unloading process of cut/waste leather particles in incinerator furnace to prepare fertilizer and fish feed. These primitive furnace units burn and boil shaving (byproducts of finished leather products), flesh linings and trimmings dust in the East Kolkata Wetlands near Bantala to make fertilizer and fish feed. The furnaces belch out thick smoke day in and day out, contributing to Kolkata's poor air quality.

There are more than a dozen furnaces putting out large volumes of toxic smoke all day, and workers wear no protection. Chemicals such as sodium sulphate, iodate soap, sulphuric acid and chrome powder are used to process leather. Constant nausea and burning in the eyes are common among workers. Very few units supply them with protective gloves, boots or masks. Presence of chromium in these can pollute surface water and leach and contaminate groundwater, stated an inspection report of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in 2009. The report had suggested immediate removal of dumped waste to the common solid waste disposal facility. The suggestion was never implemented.

I have been doing armature photography for about 5-6 years. I love photography because it is the ultimate expression of freedom, uninhibited by anyone else. I can say with certainty my passion for this work comes from people’s personalities, moods and feelings. I enjoy the process of taking pictures and using my cameras as relaxation and a distraction from the everyday routine of job and life. My favourite subject is Human Life and their life style.  lastly, photography for me is not looking and capturing, it’s emotion and love . If I can’t feel what I am looking at, then I never going to get others to feel anything when they look at my pictures. 

Some of my shortlisted works got published and exhibit telgraph.co.uk, theguardian.com, dailymail.co.uk, smithsonian.com, atkingsglobal.com, bbc.co.uk., Smithsonian magazine, Verge magazine and many other national and international web site.

I have been very fortunate to receive some awards for my photos and have won the opportunity to exhibit my photo in some national and international gallery.

You can see some of my work at:




Ph: +91 9836812206

email: sudipta270269@gmail.com

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