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, to 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.
Poulomi’s 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.
As a result of Poulomi’s work in putting this issue of menstruation and hidden and normalised forms of violence against women on the international agenda she was invited in January 2017 by Al-Jazeera to be a guest on The Mystery of Mensuration edition of their programme The Stream.
In December 2015, she shared a platform with the parents of the Nirbhaya Delhi rape victim talking about her social activist initiative, The Rape in India Project. And, in January 2016 at the UN Young Changemakers Conclave, Poulomi spoke on the social impact of sustainable development with specific reference to her long-term project A Ritual of Exile and her collaboration with NGO Water Aid and their To Be A Girl campaign, which raised £2 million, using this material.
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.
Poulomi 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.
Poulomi is on the jury for the Photographic Museum of Humanity Grant 2017 Next Generation Prize.
Poulomi has also undertaken the 'Reporting in Crisis Zones' hostile management training at Columbia School of Journalism, kindly supported with a bursary from the Rory Peck Trust.
Clients & Publications
The New York Times, The California Sunday Magazine, Financial Times Weekend Magazine, The Guardian, Le Monde, The Washington Post Magazine, VICE, BBC, Time Lightbox, Days Japan, Monocle, NPR, Grazia France, Paris Match, Stiletto, Courrier International, Marie Claire Italy, Monopol, Nido, The Sunday Times Magazine, Elle, Guernica Magazine, Action Aid, Water Aid, Save the Children, UNESCO, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Standard Chartered Bank.
Winner: Magnum Emergency Fund 2016
Finalist: W.Eugene Smith Grant 2016
Winner: Magnum Foundation Human Rights Grant, What Works 2016
Second Place: Firecracker Grant 2016, Mothers of ISIS Foreign Fighters in Syria
Selected Magnum Foundation Photography Expanded Immersive Media Lab 2016
Asia Society, China File Grant 2015
Nominee: Foam Paul Huff Award 2015
Flash Forward Tenth, Best of Magenta 2014
Dali International Photo Festival, 2nd Place, 2013
Foto Visura Award Second Place 2013
Winner: Magnum Foundation Award: Human Rights Scholarship Magnum/NYU 2012
Winner: Magenta Flash Forward UK 2013 & 2010
Selected Belfast Photography Festival 2011
Selected - Foto8 Summer show 2011
Selected Winner, 15 Asian Women's Showcase by Yumi Goto, Angkor Photo Festival 2010
Finalist Inge Morath Magnum Award 2010
Finalist: Best in Show - Foto8 Summer Show 2010
Finalist: Ian Parry Award 2010
A Ritual of Exile, FORMAT Festival, UK, March 2017
What Works, Magnum Foundation, Bronx Documentary Centre, New York, November 2016
Women in Photography, Magnum Foundation, Objectifs Gallery, Singapore Photo Festival, October 2016
Human Rights Watch Fundraising Exhibition, Sydney, Australia, April 2016
Time to See, House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, London, January 2016
Time to See, Australia House, Australian High Commission, London, November 2015
Time to See, St. James’ Palace, London, October 2015
To Conquer Her Land, Beijing Art Biennial, October 2015
A Ritual of Exile, Tbilisi Photo Festival, September 2015
To Conquer Her Land, Half King Gallery, New York, May/July 2015
A Ritual of Exile (projection), Lodz Photo Festival, Poland, June 2015
Time to See, Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting, Geneva, May 2015.
Voice of Tacitness, Hong Kong International Photo Festival, 2014
Change the Record, Glastonbury Music Festival, UK 2014
To Conquer Her Land, Dali International Photo Festival, 2013
To Conquer Her Land, Yangon Photo Festival by Alliance Françoise de Rangoon, March 2011
The Foto8 Summer Show, Host Gallery in London, July/September 2011 & 2010
To Conquer Her Land, Belfast Photo Festival, August 2011
Magenta Flash Forward group show featured exhibition, Toronto, October 2010
Foto8 Awards group exhibition at Crane Kalman Brighton, September 2010
'Travel Log' Projection group exhibition, Paraty Em Foco, Brazil, September 2010
To Conquer Her Land, The Ian Parry Award group exhibition, The Getty Gallery, London, August 2010
‘Inside/Out’, group exhibition exploring gender, The Strand Art Gallery, Mumbai, December, 2009
To Conquer Her Land, The New Gallery, London College Of Communication, December 2009
National Geographic Annual Seminar, Washington DC, January 2016
UN Young Changemakers Conclave, Bombay, January 2016
Images and Ideas – Fred Ritchin, International Centre of Photography, New York, January 2016
Unearthed: The Rape in India Project, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, December 2015
Photography and Human Rights, TISCH School of the Arts, NYU, New York, May 2015
Half King Photo Series, conversation with James Estrin, New York, May 2015
Photo Forum UK, panel discussion with Anastasia Taylor-Lind and Jessica Crombie, London, July 2014
BA Documentary Photography, London College of Communication, London, October 2015
A Ritual of Exile, Water Aid Headquarters, London, May 2014
Artist Talk, Delhi Photo Festival, October 2013
Women in Photography, with Michelle Sank and Jenny Mathews, Falmouth University, Falmouth, February 2012
PRI’s The World: Paradise Lies at the Feet of Your Mother: The Mothers of Foreign ISIS Fighters
PRI’s The World: Transformed From Women to Border Guards
DW.DE Worldlink: Politics, Power Identity