101 - Poulomi Basu


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By Ben Smith. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Poulomi Basu is a storyteller, artist and activist. Her name sounds like ‘follow me’ with a ‘P’.

She was raised by her mother in Calcutta, India and found early inspiration in the city’s rich cinematic history. After her father’s sudden death when Poulomi was 17, her mother told her to leave home as soon as her studies were complete so that she may follow her dreams and live a life of breadth and choices that was denied to her.

Since then, Poulomi prefers the path less trodden. She has slept in the wilderness under a cloudless sky staring at a million stars in search of a guerrilla army whose story strikes right at the very heart of modern India’s global ambitions, through to divided families eking out an Alaskan existence on the last rocky outpost of American soil.

Time and again, she has found herself amongst ordinary people who quietly challenge the prevailing orthodoxies of the world in which they live: rural women in armed conflict, a mother's pain for a son lost to ISIS, to the wonder of a near blind child reaching for the light.

Poulomi is forever in awe of the resilience shown by those in extraordinary circumstance, by those who are bent but not broken. Her work has become known for documenting the role of women in isolated communities and conflict zones and more generally for advocating for the rights of women.

Poulomi was featured alongside Hilary Clinton as one of the one of the 'Amazing women from around the world giving their best advice' by Refinery29. She was part of the VII Mentor Program. She is based between New Delhi, India and London, UK. She has covered issues across Asia, Europe and America. She is co-founder and director of Just Another Photo Festival, a festival that democratizes photography by taking photography to the people and forging new audiences.

In episode 101, Poulomi discusses, among other things:

  • The severe anxiety disorder that struck her out of the blue.
  • Her sometimes violent upbringing in a patriachal home.
  • The influence of the cinema of Satyajit Ray and the French new wave.
  • Blood Speaks - the ritual of chaupadi.
  • Using Virtual Reality as part of her storytelling practice.
  • The curious tale of how she won the foto evidence book award only to have it withdrawn.
  • Her forthcoming book project Centralia .


Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bloodspeaks.org

“We should be bold and make experimental work. Without experimenting you can’t go to the next level, if you don’t take risks you’ll never make great work. And I firmly believe that.”

114 episodes