The image of the tree house stirs emotions of one’s childhood. Feelings of a magical place where you could go to escape the everyday world are conjured up in this stunning photograph from Laura McPhee. The massive tree trunk has been carved into a small house complete with ornate front door and step. Columns appear to adorn the sides and an archway rests above the door. Reminiscent of C. S. Lewis'”The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”, where the children find a large wardrobe and once they walk through, they enter the land of Narnia, and also of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”, pertaining to Alice’s descent through the rabbit hole and the small door she finds that leads her into Wonderland, this tree house makes me wonder where you will go once you walk through the door. Laura’s sometimes mystical, always majestic photography in “The Home and The World” collection spotlights different households. Laura’s ability to show common places in a wondrous light, bringing one person’s everyday to the world, is apparent in her beautiful and astonishing photography.
Kolkata’s extraordinary domestic architecture (particularly the 18th and 19th century houses of the zamindars of North Kolkata, a caste of landowners made rich by the Company) tells the story of past and present, of the evolution from colony to independence and beyond. The houses were built by Indians for Indians (rather than by the British for the British) and they follow their own unique architectural conventions that reflect both domestic customs and religious use. The households I photographed consist of unusual amalgams of internationally derived architectural styles overlaid by details of family life and personal history seen in the objects that adorn the rooms. These spaces speak to the vicissitudes of economic life and of time, to incipient globalization, to the blending of history with contemporary living, to family and changing traditions, and to the long and complex material and political relationship between India and the west.