Not just clicking with a camera, the Raghu Rai photography center promises to provide a holistic learning experience to its students
Happy snappy photography bahut ho gaya, now it is time to lift budding photographers to a higher plane of creativity, says the celebrated Indian photographer of our times, Raghu Rai.
Set to launch a center for photography in the Capital next month along with his son Nitin Rai, Raghu Rai is not interested in honing skills for commercial photography, for which there are schools aplenty. He says, “Several schools have come up, several galleries exhibit pictures, a bulk of which happens to be happy snappy stuff. A lot of it is directionless, either pictorial or a copy of the west. Everyone is capable of developing that third eye but they need to be budged all the time, to be ever vigilant. I could have earned a lot of money going commercial like that, but am not interested in dhande ki baat. This school will be a place where young people can come and learn a way of life – about cleaning the space you inhabit, listening to the breeze, learn gardening and have a holistic experience -- not just photography.” Students enrolling with the center will spend time with Raghu Rai, travelling and assisting him.
“When I was young, we didn’t have any reference points or guidelines from our elders on how to go about things. After having gone through all that and learnt, we feel that we should share the learnings with the young ones so that they don’t waste time looking for it all over again,” says Raghu Rai.
A basic beginners’ course and an advanced course that goes beyond basics will be held during weekends for individuals who are already in the field working and maybe older. A one year diploma will be there for people who want to seriously take up photography as a profession. In six months’ time, a three-year graduate programme will be launched in a tie up with an international university, says Nitin Rai, who has taught photography for five years.
“Most of the schools train students for careers in advertising and commercial areas. We are looking at photography as an art form, where we want to develop the eye of the photographer as an artist,” he says.
Though digital photography has its value, the unadulterated style of photography, where a great picture is clicked on the spot and not later on photoshop back in the studio, is the kind of photography the Rais intend to teach.
“Digital art has its own place but we will focus more on life, documentary and photojournalistic work. True photography, where the situation is captured in its essence without it being artificially done up later,” says Nitin Rai.
Located in a farm house in Balyawas village on the Gurgaon-Faridabad Highway, opposite TERI, the school will provide access to photographic works and books of master photographers in portraiture, landscape, documentary, abstract and fine arts. Students will be able to see the evolution of fashion photography over 150 years and assist Raghu and Nitin on outstation assignments and photo shoots.
After six months, the Center hopes to invite reputed photographers from Magnum Photos and other agencies including curators and artists to interact with the young photographers and share their perceptions and vision.