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MASTER OF ALL HE SURVEYS Raghu Rai
MASTER OF ALL HE SURVEYS Raghu Rai

One of the country’s foremost photo journalists, Raghu Rai takes a nostalgic look at his life

His pictures do speak more than a thousand words and continue to dazzle people across the planet. Raghu Rai is one of the country’s foremost photo journalists, who has won many accolades and awards in his career spanning more than 40 years. His photos on a wide spectrum of social, economic and political issues have won many awards and have been widely acclaimed the world over.

Launching a photography contest by Indus Pride in Bangalore, armed with a camera, he looks eager to click many more pictures. He says, “I have decided to be part of this competition as it involves photos and pictures, which are my passions.”

A qualified civil engineer, he decided to take up photography as a career in 1965. He jokes, “My parents thought I was mad initially.” He joined The Statesman in 1965 and resigned in 1976, having been their photo editor. Undertaking many freelance assignments, Rai also served as director of photography for India Today. His view of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy opened the world’s eyes to the human tragedy.

He says, “It was a fairly risky assignment, since the chances of contamination was very high. However, in this profession, you have to take some risks, if you want to get the job done.”

Raghu says that the decision to take up photography happened quite by chance. “Luck also had a role to play. I took up photography and realised it is my true calling.”

He says, “I feel that to be a successful in any profession, you need to be passionate and eager to experiment. If photography is your interest, travelling will help you a great deal, as you would get to experiment and learn.”

He admits that technology has changed photography for the better over the past few years. “You can take better pictures, since you do not have to rush to a studio and wash the film, to view a picture. I have no qualms with using better technology for improving pictures. I remember a time when only black and white films were available, and one had to wait for ages to get nice colour prints from Europe and the United States.”

Raghu refuses to select his favourite. “It would be unfair. It is akin to asking a father to choose his favourite child. I feel that all my photos are like bricks in a building, if you miss one, the entire structure would be damaged.”

He advises young photographers, “Passion and experimentation is key to becoming a good photographer. You should use technological advances judiciously. Try and evolve a style of your won, instead of imitating older photographs.”

NIKHIL VARMA

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