Last word- Raghu Rai

The present state of creative photography in the country is very confused and leaves a lot to be desired. Inevitably, India becomes the recipient of outdated technologies, fashions, and ideas from the West. This gets reflected in photography too. Photographers are expected to entertain through their work. But we are not visual entertainers.


Of course, there are enough of us who love to dabble in the medium and produce pretty pictures. Unfortunately, it is often this kind of photographer who gets picked up and lionised by editors and commentators, who make it a point to back the sensational rather than the solid.

If you say Shakespeare or Milton or Tagore is not entertaining enough, I would, quite rightly, dismiss you out of hand. The same principle applies to photographers. After all, ours is an art that is sensitive to nuance. We want to go beyond the mere physicality of our subject and delve in its inner truths. It is only in this way can the inner aura of people and objects be captured and communicated to others.

This requires a vision that goes beyond the superficial in both the people who photograph and the people who see.

Today is truly the age of fast food. We have fast food editors, fast food designers, fast food layout artists, fast food photographers. For them packaging is everything, the very essence of things. Earlier those who influenced public opinion, whether they were editors or film makers or painters, tried to go about their work with a certain responsibility and a commitment to what they believed in.

Today, none of this is necessary. Everything works on market surveys. It is what sells that counts. Nothing else. And this,I believe, spells the death of true creativity.

-By Ragu Rai
Copyright © Indian Express Newspapers


5 Responses to “Last word- Raghu Rai”

  1. 1 Nimesh Dadia
    October 15, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    Every one has a camera nowadays. Wow! The youth more so is obsessed with the idea of capturing the ephemeral moment in the Camera Phones. But it is the true art of photography when a photographer can capture the potential of Eternity in that ephemeral infinitesimal moment. Where several nano moments crystallizes into this one moment of ethereal timelessness.

    I mean it was the Non Globalised India who produced great legends in the field of photography such as Dayanita Singh, Nemai Ghosh, Raghu Rai , Raghbir Singh, Prabudha Das Gupta etc.. There were no Omnipresent Cameras but may be there was vision.

    Now its all Fashion Photography. Click Click Click …. Resembles More to a Behavioral Pattern of Pigeon. Thousand Hits for One Strike.

    Nimesh Dadia

  2. October 15, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Hey Nimesh

    Wow.. really very well expressed !! Hope you join blogging community by starting your blog soon and showcase and share your creativity


  3. October 17, 2007 at 9:44 am

    great article and even better comment from nimesh! it’s so true that nowadays, everybody/anybody with a digital camera is a “photographer”. the equipment is always secondary – we need to develop the “eye”.

  4. October 18, 2007 at 6:42 am

    Here’s another point of view…35 years ago I got a Nikon FTN and started taking photos;working in a darkroom and looking a the work of the “masters.” Oddly enought, I raised two daughters who both ended up behind the lens…one graduated from Tisch Film School at NYU and the other from the Parson’s School of Design in Photography. Now that I carry a little digital (although I dream of having a 35 mm digital) camera, I find myself looking at the world with more awareness–framing up things in my mind’s eye; paying closer attention; taking in color and light…ultimately, being more present in my life. If taking photos has a similar impact on others, I say, “Wonderful!” In this hurry up world we can all use an oportunity to slow down and look more closely at the details of life!

  5. October 18, 2007 at 5:49 pm


    Beautiful observation.. just like your blog– “Do-it-yourself enlightenment”

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