|Born||22 October 1942|
|Died||18 April 1999 56) (aged|
New York, US
|Ganga: Sacred River of India (1974)|
River of Colour: The India of Raghubir Singh (1998)
Raghubir Singh (1942–1999) was an Indian photographer, most known for his landscapes and documentary-style photographs of the people of India.He was a self-taught photographer who worked in India and lived in Paris, London and New York. During his career he worked with National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, The New Yorker and Time . In the early 1970s, he was one of the first photographers to reinvent the use of color at a time when color photography was still a marginal art form.
Singh belonged to a tradition of small-format street photography, working in color, that to him, represented the intrinsic value of Indian aesthetics.According to his 2004 retrospective his "documentary-style vision was neither sugarcoated, nor abject, nor controllingly omniscient". Deeply influenced by modernism, he liberally took inspiration from Rajasthani miniatures, Mughal paintings and Bengal, a place where he thought western modernist ideas and vernacular Indian art were fused for the first time, as reflected in the works of the Bengal school and the humanism of filmmaker Satyajit Ray. "Beauty, nature, humanism and spirituality were the cornerstones of Indian culture" for him and became the bedrock for his work.
Singh published 14 well-received books on the Ganges, Calcutta, Benares, his native Rajasthan, Grand Trunk Road, and the Hindustan Ambassador car.Today, his work is part of the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, amongst others.
Singh was born into an aristocratic Rajput family in 1942 in Jaipur. His grandfather was Commander-in-chief of the Jaipur Armed Forces, while his father was a Thakur or feudal landowner of Khetri (now in Jhunjhunu district, Rajasthan). After independence, his family saw a dwindling of its fortune.As a schoolboy, he discovered Beautiful Jaipur, Cartier-Bresson's little-known book published in 1948, which inspired his interest in photography.
After his schooling at St. Xavier's School, Jaipur, he joined the Hindu College (Delhi) but dropped out in his first year.It was here that he took a serious interest in photography.
Singh first moved to Calcutta to begin a career in the tea industry, as had his elder brother before him. This turned out to be unsuccessful, but by this time, he had started to take photographs. 221 This also set a precedent for literary input in his future books, as in the coming years the writer V. S. Naipaul conducted a dialogue with him for the preface to his book Bombay (1994), while R. K. Narayan wrote the introduction to Tamil Nadu (1997).In Calcutta, Singh met the historian R. P. Gupta, who later contributed text for his first book Ganges (1974). Singh was gradually introduced to a circle of city artists who deeply influenced his later work, especially the realism of filmmaker Satyajit Ray, who later designed the cover of his first book and wrote the introduction to his Rajasthan book. :
By the mid-1960s, Life Magazine had published eight pages of his photographs about student unrest. He later moved to Hong Kong and started doing photo features for National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times ...
After a decade of travelling along the Ganges, Singh published his first book Ganges in 1974, with an introduction by Eric Newby.Though his early work was inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson's documentary-style photographs of India, he chose colour as his medium, responding to the vivid colours of India, and over time adapted western techniques to Indian aesthetics.
In the 1970s, Singh moved to Paris and over the following three decades, through rigorous training and exposure, he created a series of portfolios of colour photography on India. His style was influenced by Mughal painting and Rajasthani miniature paintings, whose individual sections maintain their autonomy within the overall frame. 223:
In his early work, Singh focused on the geographic and social anatomy of cities and regions in India. His work on Bombay in the early 1990s marks a turning point in his stylistic development.
Singh published over 14 books. In the last of these, A Way into India (2002), published posthumously, the Ambassador car in which he travelled on all his journeys across Indian since 1957 becomes a camera obscura. Singh uses its doors and windshield to frame and divide his photographs. In the accompanying text, John Baldessari compares Singh to Orson Welles for his juxtaposition of near and far and to Mondrian for his fragmentation of space.
In addition to his photographic work, Singh taught in New York at the School of Visual Arts, Columbia University and Cooper Union.
In 1972, he married Anne de Henning, also a photographer, and the couple had a daughter, Devika Singh, who is curator at the Tate Modern and holds a position at Cambridge University.
Singh died on 18 April 1999 of a heart attack.Upon his death, the art critic Max Kozloff wrote, "If you can imagine what a Rajput miniaturist could have learned from Henri Cartier-Bresson, you'll have a glimmer of Raghubir Singh's aesthetic."
On 3 December 2017, artist Jaishri Abichandani organized a protest outside the Met Breuer, where Singh's "Modernism on the Ganges" opened as an exhibit on 11 October 2017. She accused Singh of having sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s while on a trip to India where she accompanied him as an assistant.She claims to have been under the impression that the trip was a professional one, and that she made her non-consent known.
In 1998, the Art Institute of Chicago organized a retrospective exhibition of his work, which was still on display at the time of his death. The book River of Colour was published on the occasion of this exhibition.
In February 1999, what had been intended as a mid-career retrospective exhibition of his work opened at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, after showing at the Bon Marché in Paris and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Marc Riboud was a French photographer, best known for his extensive reports on the Far East: The Three Banners of China, Face of North Vietnam, Visions of China, and In China.
Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French humanist photographer considered a master of candid photography, and an early user of 35 mm film. He pioneered the genre of street photography, and viewed photography as capturing a decisive moment.
Bill Brandt was a British photographer and photojournalist. Born in Germany, Brandt moved to England, where he became known for his images of British society for such magazine as Lilliput and Picture Post, later he made distorted nudes, portraits of famous artists and landscapes. He is widely considered to be one of the most important British photographers of the 20th century.
Berenice Abbott, née Bernice Alice Abbott, was an American photographer best known for her portraits of between-the-wars 20th century cultural figures, New York City photographs of architecture and urban design of the 1930s, and science interpretation in the 1940s to 1960s.
Josef Koudelka is a Czech-French photographer. He is a member of Magnum Photos and has won awards such as the Prix Nadar (1978), a Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1989), a Grand Prix Henri Cartier-Bresson (1991), and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1992). Exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; the Hayward Gallery, London; the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
Tony Ray-Jones was an English photographer.
Joel Meyerowitz is an American street, portrait and landscape photographer. He began photographing in color in 1962 and was an early advocate of the use of color during a time when there was significant resistance to the idea of color photography as serious art. In the early 1970s he taught photography at the Cooper Union in New York City.
The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) is the premier art gallery under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The main museum at Jaipur House in New Delhi was established on 29 March 1954 by the Government of India, with subsequent branches at Mumbai and Bangalore. Its collection of more than 1700 works by 2000 plus artists includes artists such as Thomas Daniell, Raja Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil as well as foreign artists. Some of the oldest works preserved here date back to 1857. With 12,000 square meters of exhibition space, the Delhi branch is one of the world's largest modern art museums.
Malick Sidibé was a Malian photographer noted for his black-and-white studies of popular culture in the 1960s in Bamako. Sidibé had a long and fruitful career as a photographer in Bamako, Mali, and was a well-known figure in his community. In 1994 he had his first exhibition outside of Mali and received much critical praise for his carefully composed portraits. Sidibé's work has since become well known and renowned on a global scale. His work was the subject of a number of publications and exhibited throughout Europe and the United States. In 2007, he received a Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale, becoming both the first photographer and the first African so recognized. Other awards he has received include a Hasselblad Award for photography, an International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement, and a World Press Photo award.
Stephen Shore is an American photographer known for his images of banal scenes and objects in the United States, and for his pioneering use of color in art photography. His books include Uncommon Places (1982) and American Surfaces (1999), photographs that he took on cross-country road trips in the 1970s.
Dayanita Singh is a photographer whose primary format is the book. She has published twelve books.
Saul Leiter was an American photographer and painter whose early work in the 1940s and 1950s was an important contribution to what came to be recognized as the New York school of photography.
Pablo Bartholomew is an Indian photojournalist and an independent photographer based in New Delhi, India. He is noted for his photography, as an educator running photography workshops, and as manager of MediaWeb, a software company specialising in photo database solutions and server-based digital archiving systems.
Bruce Gilden is an American street photographer. He is best known for his candid close-up photographs of people on the streets of New York City, using a flashgun. He has had various books of his work published, has received the European Publishers Award for Photography and is a Guggenheim Fellow. Gilden has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1998. He was born in Brooklyn, New York.
Jatin Das is an Indian painter, sculptor and muralist. He is counted amongst the most contemporary artists of India.
Dorothy Bohm is a photographer based in London, known for her portraiture, street photography, early adoption of colour, and photography of London and Paris; she is considered one of the doyennes of British photography.
Raman Siva Kumar, well known as R. Siva Kumar, is an Indian contemporary art historian, art critic, and curator. R. Siva Kumar's major research has been in the area of early Indian modernism with special focus on the Santiniketan School. He has written several important books, lectured widely on modern Indian art and contributed articles to prestigious international projects such as the Art Journal, Grove Art Online or The Dictionary of Art, Oxford University Press.
Sandra S. "Sandy" Phillips is an American writer, and curator working in the field of photography. She is the Curator Emeritus of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She joined the museum as curator of photography in 1987 and was promoted to senior curator of photography in 1999 in acknowledgement of her considerable contributions to SFMOMA. A photographic historian and former curator at the Vassar College Art Gallery in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Phillips succeeded Van Deren Coke as head of one of the country’s most active departments of photography. Phillips stepped down from her full time position in 2016.
Peter Galassi is an American writer, curator, and art historian working in the field of photography. His principal fields are photography and nineteenth-century French art.
Sunil Gupta is an Indian-born Canadian photographer, based in London. His career has been spent "making work responding to the injustices suffered by gay men across the globe, himself included", including themes of sexual identity, migration, race and family. Gupta has produced a number of books and his work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Tate. In 2020 he was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society. He currently has a solo exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery in London.