Street photography workshop in Kolkata, India in November 2015



A week-long street photography workshop in Kolkata with In-Public photographer Maciej Dakowicz


19 – 25 January 2015.


Alison Adcock –
Rose Vandepitte –
Priti Shah Ganatra –
Andrew Lawson


Alison, Andy, Priti, Rose and Maciej at the guesthouse in the middle of a photo review session during the workshop.




Wikipedia says that “Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly river, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India’s oldest operating port as well as its sole major riverine port. As of 2011, the city had 4.5 million residents; the urban agglomeration, which comprises the city and its suburbs, was home to approximately 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. As of 2008, its economic output as measured by gross domestic product ranked third among South Asian cities, behind Mumbai and Delhi. As a growing metropolitan city in a developing country, Kolkata confronts substantial urban pollution, traffic congestion, poverty, overpopulation, and other logistic and socioeconomic problems.”

and Lonely Planet says: “Simultaneously noble and squalid, cultured and desperate, Kolkata is a daily festival of human existence. And it’s all played out before your very eyes on teeming streets where not an inch of space is wasted. By its old spelling, Calcutta, India’s second-biggest city conjures up images of human suffering to most Westerners. But Bengalis have long been infuriated by one-sided depictions of their vibrant capital. Kolkata is locally regarded as the intellectual and cultural capital of the nation. Several of India’s great 19th- and 20th-century heroes were Kolkatans, including guru-philosopher Ramakrishna, Nobel Prize–winning poet Rabindranath Tagore and celebrated film director Satyajit Ray. Dozens of venues showcase Bengali dance, poetry, art, music, film and theatre. And while poverty certainly remains in-your-face, the dapper Bengali gentry continue to frequent grand old gentlemen’s clubs, back horses at the Calcutta Racetrack and play soothing rounds of golf at some of India’s finest courses.
As the former capital of British India, Kolkata retains a feast of dramatic colonial architecture, with more than a few fine buildings in photogenic states of semi-collapse. The city still has many slums but is also developing dynamic new-town suburbs, a rash of air-conditioned shopping malls and some of the best restaurants in India. This is a fabulous place to sample the mild, fruity tang of Bengali cuisine and share the city’s passion for sweets.
Friendlier than India’s other mega-cities, Kolkata is really a city you ‘feel’ more than just visit. ”

Exciting, isn’t it? There is so much to shoot there! Every day is an adventure. People are super friendly, food is great and being there is cheap. Maciej knows Kolkata very well and will guide you to some fascinating areas, where tourist don’t venture. You will have a chance to sample some fantastic Indian food in Maciej’s favourite restaurants and refreshing cold beer in atmospheric bars. You will love it there.

Workshop Description

It will be a very practical workshop and there will be a lot of shooting every day. A very small group of max 4 participants means a high level of interaction with Maciej. You will be working in pairs changing “partners” after the lunch break. While shooting with Maciej you will have a chance to observe him at work, learn his techniques and tricks, and receive an instant feedback on your photographic technique. A special attention will be put on developing and practising “social skills” – an interaction with local people. You will not only be a fly on the wall hunting for decisive moments like Henri Cartier-Bresson, but also get really close to people, engage, talk and photograph them. Maciej is a very experienced travel and street photographer and you will learn a great deal of new things. In the evenings you will edit and discuss your freshly taken photos in the group together with Maciej. There will be plenty of opportunities to talk photography too. Maciej will also present several slideshow presentations in which theoretical and practical aspects of street photography will be outlined and discussed. All previous workshop participants found them very useful.
It will be a very memorable week that will change you not only as a photographer, but as a person too. You will return back home confident, inspired and motivated to keep developing as a photographer.



The participants of the workshop are responsible for all travel costs, including the visa, air tickets, food, accommodation and local transport. Luckily India is still a very affordable place to be and total weekly travel spendings are usually around £150. The group will stay in an affordable, clean, full of character, friendly and well located hotel in Central Kolkata. Participants may also stay in one of the very high standard hotels nearby if they wish so. The total cost of such an adventure (including Maciej’s fee) should be around £1500 (when flying from the UK for around £500 and staying in the hotel for around £20 per night).

Maciej’s photos from Kolkata shot on the previous photo adventures (each taken while shooting with a workshop participant) and during other visits to this fascinating metropolis:

Morning bathing at the Mallick Ghat on Hooghly River in Kolkata,
Morning bathing at the Mallick Ghat on Hooghly River in Kolkata, thumbnail
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r5IMG_5789_india_kolkata_calcutta_kumartuli_festival_celebration_chhath_puja_pooja_women_dancing thumbnail
r5IMG_6150_india_west_bengal_kolkata_calcutta_mullick_malik_ghat_brahmin_priest_light thumbnail
r5IMG_6661_india_west_bengal_kolkata_calcutta_street_plant thumbnail
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r6IMG_7271_india_kolkata_calcutta_bara_bazar_Burrabazar_truck_driver thumbnail
r6IMG_8065_india_west_bengal_kolkata_calcutta_rabindra_sarovar_park thumbnail
r12IMG_1397_india_west_bengal_kolkata_calcutta_howrah_bridge_work_labour thumbnail
r12IMG_1471_india_kolkata_calcutta_flower_market_flowers_night thumbnail
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Please also take a look at the reports from previous workshops for behind the scene photos and pictures taken by the students.
Before settling down in Mumbai Maciej visited India more than 10 times, so he is very experienced at photographing in this country. He has organised and lead around 10 Indian workshops so far and they all have been very successful (not only according to the participants – Maciej thinks the same).

ABOUT Maciej Dakowicz

Maciej is an experienced Polish photographer, traveller and gallerist based in Mumbai, India. He holds a PhD in computer science, but abandoned science to focus on photography. He is one of the founders of Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff and a member of the international street photography collective In-Public. He has worked on various photographic projects in the UK and abroad and his interests are in documentary, travel and street photography.
Maciej’s photos have been widely published and exhibited around the world, shown at photo festivals (including Visa Pour l’Image) and he is a recipient of numerous awards. He was profiled in two major street photography books published by Thames & Hudson – “Street Photography Now” in 2010 and “The World Atlas of Street Photography” in 2014. Maciej’s first monograph Cardiff After Dark was published in October 2012.