I was discussing the work of Narinder Nanu with a colleague, and he suggested that I should really take a look at the photographic work of Raghu Rai. This proved to be excellent advice and a wonderful adventure. There is a very unique quality and vision to Rai’s work. He was born in 1942 and became a photographer in 1965. He joined the staff of the New Delhi publication “The Statesman” in 1966. Ten years later he became a freelance photographer and in 1977 became a protégé of Henri Cartier-Bresson, who appointed Rai to “Magnum Photos.” Rai was also Director of Photography for “India Today,” from 1982-1992. He has published several books, most famously “Reflections in Colour“ and “Reflections in Black and White.”
You can see some of Raghu Rai’s stunning work at Aicon Gallery on the web. Probably his most famous image is that of an unknown child victim being buried after the Bhopal gas disaster. In researching Rai’s images, I have found quite a few that I find wonderful and would call favorites. The first is “The Day Before – Ayodhya, 6 Dec. 1992.” The picture is perfect technically. The density is exact, and the morning fog adds just a bit of mystery. And then there is the subject matter, a sadhu giving an offering to a passerby and then, of course, there is the baboon. It’s just so magical. And then there is “Cloud Series 7, 2010.” I have to say that I have never seen a picture quite like thisand never quite seen light like this, which divides a picture both horizontally and vertically into light and dark. This truly speaks to a master’s vision.