Indian photographer Raghu Rai has worked for many years on this essay on the Indian city of Calcutta. It is a city with a homage to life. It is one of the busiest and most prosperous cities of Asia. For millions of poor peasants, who see riches flow past every day, Calcutta is a veritable Eldorado. The city can only offer a space of 3.7 square meters to each one of her inhabitants, and just over one square meter of these inhabitants live in a shantytown or slum. Every day five hundred thousand people, fifty thousand cars, thousands of trucks, carts and so on cross the river. It is a city where men have to fight for survival.
This artwork description is an excerpt from Magnum Photos.
Raghu Rai was born in 1942 in Jhhang, now part of Pakistan. His career in photography started in the year 1965, a year after he began to work for the prestigious New Delhi daily publication, the Statesman. In 1976, Rai left the newspaper and worked as a freelance photographer for the next six years. From 1982 – 1992, Rai served as the Director of Photography for the newsmagazine India Today. He has also served on the jury for World Press Photo award three times.
Over the years Rai’s work has also been featured in several solo shows around the world, including those at Casa Asia, Barcelona, in 2008; ‘The Journey of a Moment in Time: Raghu Rai’ at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi and Mumbai, in 2008; ‘Just By The Way: Rocks, Clouds and Nudes’ at the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery, National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai, in 2007; ‘India’ at Musei Capitolini Centrale Montemartini, Rome, in 2005; ‘Bhopal 1984 – 2004’ at Melkweg Gallery, Amsterdam, in 2005; and ‘Oriented’ at FotoGrafia, Festival Internazionale di Roma organized by the Comune di Roma, also in 2005. Amongst his most recent group endeavors are ‘CLICK ! Contemporary Photography in India’ at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, in 2008; ‘Namesake / Inspiration’ at Sepia International, New York, in 2007; and ‘Indianscope: L’Inde intemporelle dans l’Inde d’aujourd’hui’ at the Maison de la Photographi, France, also in 2007.
In 1971, Rai was awarded the Padmashree, one of India’s highest civilian awards. In 1992, he won global acclaim for his National Geographic cover story “Human Management of Wildlife in India.” Leading magazines and news dailies such has Time, Life, GEO, The New York Times, Sunday Times, Newsweek, The Independent and the New Yorker have published many of Rai’s photo essays. The artist lives and works in Delhi with his family.
This artist bio has been sourced from Saffron Art’s artist page on Raghu Rai.