India has found herself to be the muse of many renowned photographers. With each body of work generated here, a different facet of the country is unearthed. One of those who has consciously focused on capturing the universality of life in India and the distinctiveness of its numerous cultures is Raghu Rai.
Indian photojournalism would not be what it is without his unparalleled contribution. While Rai has captured some of the most vital political and social developments in modern India, he has also independently recorded the dynamism and the diversity of life and paid homage to its richness. His ability to freeze the profundity of a single moment no matter what the subject — Indira Gandhi or Mother Theresa, a mute animal in the street or an idyllic countryside — gives his pictures a sacred quality.
Early in his career, Raghu Rai caught the attention of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the French photographer considered the father of candid photography or ‘life reportage’. In 1971, Besson chanced upon an exhibition of Rai’s in Paris at the Galerie Delpire. He nominated Rai to the world-famous Magnum Photo Agency. The same year Rai was awarded the Padma Shree in India.
Tasveer Arts in partnership with Vacheron Constantin and Luxure Louis Philippe has selected a range of pictures from Rai’s career to feature in a collection titled “Divine Moments”. The exhibition showcases his first ever photograph ‘A Baby Donkey, Near Delhi’ as well as some of his later pieces.
Rai says, “A divine moment is really that instinctive moment. When you penetrate intuitively into a situation or a moment, you go beyond the mere physicality of the subject or matter. This is how what you capture lives for eternity. Otherwise, most photography becomes predictable and just about pretty stuff.”
The individuality in Rai’s work has spanned a distinguished career of 47 years. He accomplished this by being almost invisible as he immersed himself in the lives of ordinary, unknown people to record the intricate details of their experiences. Rai’s photography has found a place of prominence in international exhibitions, book publications and as photo-essays in major international magazines.
Bottomline: The spectacular and the ordinary become sacred when seen through Raghu Rai’s lens.
Divine Moments by Raghu Rai
When: Till December 28.
Where: Tasveer, Sua House, 26/1 Kasturba Cross Road, Bangalore. Ph: + 080-40535217