Learning photography from Raghu Rai

Art is not about beauty, it is all about expression, and what really matters is the freshness of the expression.
Raghu Rai is a legend, albeit a humble human being who engages those fortunate enough to meet him at many levels. When I learnt that he was to conduct a workshop in Chandigarh, I thought that I would certainly take benefit of the opportunity.

“Roopinder, What are you doing here,” he asked when he saw me among the photographers?
“I am here to learn,” was the reply.
What an experience it was to interact with one of the best photographers in the world! In fact, so impressed was I that for his lecture at the end of the workshops, I took my mother, Sardarni Inderjit Kaur, and family, Jaspreet and Shaan, to listen to what the master had to say. I also alerted many friends, and those who came had to find standing room in the aisles of the Government Museum and Art Gallery auditorium.

It was a mesmerising talk, and we all have to acknowledge the initiative of city-based photographer Diwan Manna, chairman of Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, a friend of Raghu, who brought him to us. When a bouquet of flowers was presented to him, the famous photographer walked up to where my mother was seated and presented the bouquet to her. At the end of the talk, she spoke about the lecture and its impact on her, and Raghu simply replied that he felt a Mother’s love in her words.
The experience of learning from a master was fabulous, but the need was for it to reach a wider audience, and this is where The Tribune came in. The article An image is more than a pretty picture was published in Spectrum and through it, a sense of what transpired in the interaction was communicated to a few hundred thousand readers, some of who called to discuss it. Please click here to read the article.

You may also like to read an earlier article titled Beyond a moment in time, that I wrote in March 2008 after the National Gallery of Modern Art for the first time marked the retrospective of a photographer with an exhibition titled A Journey of a Moment in Time: Raghu Rai which had of his 185 photographs. 

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