India’s colossus of photography Raghu Rai (follow him here) has 5 decades photography career behind him, and for him, India is his whole world. He 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. And this very ideology has brought him a lot of accolades so far. He has numerous awards, many books, multitudes of exhibitions, and special recognition in the world and Indian history of the photography world. He is probably the only photographer who has produced more than 30 books on different aspects and themes in India, from Kolkata to Varanasi.
Raghu Rai’s story has been documented by national and international agencies. The National Geographic, CNN and BBC made documentaries on him as part of the greatest photographers of the world in the early 2000s, and domestically, 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.
He won the first edition of a prestigious French Award of the Académie des beaux-arts Photography Award in 2019. This prize rewards a photographer for his/her entire career and commitment to photography. His greatness can be seen in the fact that he was the winner among the 16 other nominations, who were all world-famous names- James Mathew, Bruce Davidson, Eliot Erwitt, and many more. He is a versatile photographer who covers many subjects, many directions.
In 1992 he was awarded “Photographer of the Year” in the United States or 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.
He has been awarded the Padmashree award in 1972 among many other international awards. 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. His work in exhibitions have been shown all over the globe.
Among some other international assignments, he has been an adjudicator for World Press Photo Contest, Amsterdam and UNESCO’s International Photo Contest for many times. He also worked on photo documentation of 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, under a special assignment with Greenpeace International.
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).
He runs the Raghu Rai Center for Photography in Gurgaon. Over 50 years of work in black and white and color we see glimpses of his many journeys. Rai has always been a critic of his own work and his reflections become vital to understand his corollary and his journey. “The time we live in is not just complex, it is also multilayered,” states Rai.
More following more photographers and celebrities, click here.
To follow more such stories download the Xpert app, download here