Last Updated July 13, 2018

Raghu Rai

Indian (Born 1942 ) FREE LISTING Hot
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Raghu Rai (born in December 1942) qualified as civil engineer, started photography at the age of 23 in 1965. He joined The Statesman newspaper as their chief photographer (1966 to 1976), and was then Picture Editor with Sunday—a weekly news magazine published from Calcutta (1977 to 1980).

In 1971, impressed by Rai’s exhibition at Gallery Delpire, Paris, the legendary photographer Henri Cartier Bresson nominated him to Magnum Photos.

Rai took over as Picture Editor-Visualiser-Photographer of India Today, India’s leading news magazine in its formative years. He worked on special issues and designs, contributing picture essays on social, political and cultural themes of the decade (1982 to 1991) which became the talking point of the magazine.

He was awarded the ‘Padmashree’ in 1972, one of India’s important civilian awards ever given to a photographer for the body of works he produced on Bangladesh refugees, the war and the surrender. In 1992 he was awarded “Photographer of the Year” in the United States for the story “Human Management of Wildlife in India” published in National Geographic. In 2009 he was conferred Officier des Arts et des Lettres by French Govt.

The work and life of raghu rai have been documented by both national and international agencies. While national geographic,cnn and bbc made documentaries on him as part of the greatest photographers of the world in early 2000s, the ministry of external affairs in india made a comprehensive documentary on him in 2010. his works are a permanent collection of Bibliothic Nationale, Paris, national gallery of modern art, india and many other private collectors and museums.

His photo essays have appeared in many of the world’s leading magazines and newspapers – including Time, Life, GEO, Le Figaro, Le Monde, Die Welt, The New York Times, Sunday The Times-London, Newsweek, Vogue, GQ, D magazine, Marie Claire, The Independent and the New Yorker. He has been an adjudicator for World Press Photo Contest, Amsterdam and UNESCO’s International Photo Contest for many times.

He has done extensive work on the photo documentation of 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy and its continuing effects on the lives of gas victims under a special assignment from Greenpeace International. This documentation was compiled into a book with 3 sets of exhibitions traveling in Europe, America, Australia, India and South East Asia from 2002 to 2005, which created greater awareness about the tragedy and bringing relief to many survivors.

A special exhibition and picture book was created on India and Mexico in year 2002 in which his work was published along with two renowned photographers Graciela Iturbide (Mexico) and Sebastiao Salagado (France). His works have been published in major books done by Magnum Photos including Exhibitions.

Born and brought up in India, for him India is his whole world. Probably the only photographer who prefers to photograph his homeland and people as he feels it is his responsibility and a challenge to go on and explore the ethos and power of an ancient civilization of his own country than dabble in all kinds of travel abroad. This has, probably, given him and his work an edge over any body photographing India. He believes ‘Over the centuries’, so much has melded into India, that its not really one country, its not one culture. It is crowded with crosscurrents of many religions, beliefs, cultures and their practices that may appear incongruous. But India keeps alive the inner spirit of her own civilization with all its contradictions. Here, several centuries have learnt to live side by side at the same time. And a good photograph is lasting witness to that as photo history of our times. Being a multi-lingual, multi- cultured and multi- religious society, the images must speak these complexities through a multi- layered experience.

Probably only photographer who has produced more than 30 books on different aspects / life and themes on India. There are 4/5 books in the pipeline.