Photos: How archivists are helping preserve family legacies
Memories fade. But memories also live in old images, vintage objects and heritage homes. Now a host of services are
Memories fade. But memories also live in old images, vintage objects and heritage homes. Now a host of services are helping families preserve their tangible and intangible heirlooms, in the form of illustrated novels, photo albums and videos. We take a look at two – Calcutta Houses which makes photos and videos of the city’s crumbling heritable structures that give Kolkata its character; Past Perfect scans through photos, anecdotes and heirlooms to create historical fiction (on request) for families that have dramatic flashes of memories, but a dearth of detail.
Published on Sep 29, 2022 09:33 PM IST 6 Photos
Calcutta Houses was initially an Instagram page run by Manish Golder, Sidhartha Hajra and Sayan Dutta. They scoured the city and archived heritage homes, some dating to the early 1800s, others as recent as the Art Deco trend of the 1960s, many that would not be around much longer. Last year they got their first request to document in details a family home that they had featured on their page. Golder has now been commissioned to archive a 200-year-old ancestral home called Barrister Babur Bari (Barrister’s Home; seen here).(Image Courtesy: Calcutta Houses)
Barrister Babur Bari (Barrister’s Home) has been housed by the same family since before the Revolt of 1857. It is characterised by its large courtyard, arched corridors and slatted French windows (seen here). It is the ancestral home of Krishnakali Basu (Mitra), a Gurgaon-based theatre artiste who is struggling to hold out against it being sold, demolished and replaced by a high-rise.(Image Courtesy: Calcutta Houses)
Barrister Babur Bari (Barrister’s Home) is a three-storey, 17-room mansion, which is not easy to maintain. Krishnakali Basu (Mitra) is hoping, through this documentation by Calcutta Houses, she will be able to get the larger public interested in this structure, and find the support she needs to save the house.(Image Courtesy: Calcutta Houses)
Past Perfect specialises in turning historical accounts of clients into create novels or illustrated works of historical fiction. One of the projects they are working on currently is a four-part series on the family legacy of entrepreneur Aditya Gupta. Gupta can trace his family back six generations and has fascinating stories to tell, about relatives who died during the Revolt of 1857; about a great-grand uncle who was a revolutionary, and a grandmother who travelled alone to London to study at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Images like the one seen here, during a birthday celebration in Hyderabad, and many others serve as source material for the book series.(Image Courtesy: Past Perfect)