Indian, b. 1942
Raghu Rai was born in the small village of Jhhang, now part of Pakistan. He took up photography in 1965, and the following year joined "The Statesman" newspaper as its chief photographer. Impressed by an exhibit of his work in Paris in 1971, Henri Cartier-Bresson nominated Rai to join Magnum Photos in 1977.
Rai left "The Statesman" in 1976 to work as picture editor for "Sunday," a weekly news magazine published in Calcutta. He left in 1980 and worked as Picture Editor/Visualizer/Photographer of "India Today", India’s leading news magazine, during its formative years. From 1982 to 1991, he worked on special issues and designs, contributing trailblazing picture essays on social, political and cultural themes, many of which became the talking point of the magazine.
In the last 18 years, Rai has specialized in extensive coverage of India. He has produced more than 18 books, including Raghu Rai’s Delhi, The Sikhs, Calcutta, Khajuraho, Taj Mahal, Tibet in Exile, India, and Mother Teresa.
For Greenpeace, he has completed an in-depth documentary project on the chemical disaster at Bhopal in 1984, and on its ongoing effects on the lives of gas victims. This work resulted in a book and three exhibitions that have been touring Europe, America, India and southeast Asia since 2004, the 20th anniversary of the disaster. Rai hopes that the exhibition can support the many survivors through creating greater awareness, both about the tragedy, and about the victims – many who are still uncompensated – who continue to live in the contaminated environment around Bhopal.
Rai was awarded the ‘Padmashree’ in 1971, one of India’s highest civilian awards ever given to a photographer. In 1992, his National Geographic cover story “Human Management of Wildlife in India” won him widespread critical acclaim for the piece. Besides winning many national and international awards, Rai has exhibited his works in London, Paris, New York, Hamburg, Prague, Tokyo, Zurich and Sydney. His photo essays have appeared in many of the world’s leading magazines and newspapers including "Time", "Life", "GEO", "The New York Times", "Sunday Times", "Newsweek", "The Independent," and the "New Yorker".
He has served three times on the jury of the World Press Photo and twice on the jury of UNESCO's International Photo Contest.
Raghu Rai lives in Delhi with his family and continues to be an associate of Magnum Photos.
1992 Photograph of the Year, USA
1971 Padmashree Award, India
2005 India - Musei Capitolini Centrale Montemartini, Rome, Italy
2005 Bhopal 1984 – 2004 - Melkweg Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2004 Exposure - Drik Gallery, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Leica Gallery,
Prague, Czech Republic
2003 Exposure: Portrait of a Corporate Crime - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
2003 Bhopal - Sala Consiliare, Venice, Italy; Photographic Gallery, Helsinki, Finland
2002 Volkart Foundation, Winterthur, Switzerland
2002 Raghu Rai’s India - A Retrospective – Photofusion, London, UK
1997 Retrospective - National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France
2005 Mother Theresa: A Life of Dedication, Harry N. Abrams, USA
2005 Romance of India, Timeless Books, India
2004 Indira Gandhi: A Living Legacy, Timeless Books, India
2004 Exposure: Portrait Of A Corporate Crime, Greenpeace, Netherlands
2003/04 Saint Mother: A Life Dedicated, Timeless Books, India;
(Mère Teresa), La Martinière, France
2002 Bhopal Gas Tragedy (with Suroopa Mukherjee), Tulika Publishers, India
2001 Raghu Rai's India - A Retrospective, Asahi Shimbun, Japan
2000 Lakshadweep, UT of Lakshadweep, India
2000 Raghu Rai... in his Own Words, Roli Books, India
1998 Man, Metal and Steel, Steel Authority of India, Ltd., India
1997 My Land and Its People, Vadehra Gallery, India
1996 Faith and Compassion: The Life and Work or Mother Teresa, Element Books, USA
1996/01 Dreams of India, Times Editions, Singapore/Greenwich, UK
1994 Raghu Rai's Delhi, Indus/Harper Collins, India
1991 Khajuraho, Time Books International, India
1990/91 Tibet in Esilio, Mondadori, Italy; (Tibet in Exile), Chronicle Books, USA
1990 Delhi and Agra (with Lai Kwok Kin and Nitin Rai), Hunter Publications, Inc., USA
1989 Calcutta, Time Books International, India
1988 Dreams of India, Time Books International, Singapore; (L'Inde), Arthaud, France
1986/87 Taj Mahal, Times Editions, Singapore; Robert Laffont, France; Rizzoli Publications, USA
1985 Indira Gandhi (with Pupul Jayakar), Lustre Press, India
1984 The Sikhs, Lustre Press, India
1983 Delhi: A Portrait, Delhi Tourist Development Corporation/Oxford University Press,
1974 A Day in the life of Indira Gandhi, Nachiketa Publications, India