Ones to Watch — Debsuddha

Photo by Debsuddha / VII Mentor Program from his project "Belonging."

Each year, the British Journal of Photography presents its “Ones To Watch” – a selection of emerging image-makers, chosen from a list of nearly 500 nominations. This year, that selection includes VII Mentor Program photographer Debsuddha. 

The images are mesmerizing: quietly framing the isolated lives of Debsuddha's two elderly aunts, Gayatri and Swati Goswami. The Goswamis are albino – their milky skin and blonde, feathery hair have rendered them victims of lifelong bullying and segregation. The pair inhabit a lofty two-story house, 164 years old and set back from a road in Kolkata's Hatibagan neighborhood, from which they rarely venture.

In 2020, following the advent of Covid-19 and a mentor's encouragement, Debsuddha began photographing the Goswamis at home, gently picturing their isolated lives (which were rendered even more so by the pandemic) through pensive, almost whimsical, colour images. "My aunties are shy," says Debsuddha, "but in time they started opening up to me and the more I understood their stories, the more the work grew."