Meet Raghu Rai: The Septuagenarian Behind The Finest Portraits Of All Time!

“I feel that to be successful in any profession, you need to be passionate and eager to experiment. If photography is your interest, traveling will help you a great deal, as you would get to experiment and learn.”

India’s best known photographer, Raghu Rai has served five decades in the field of photography. Throughout his journey of 50 years, Raghu has captured some iconic personalities and historic events of changing India.

Born in December 1942 in Jhang, Punjab (now in Pakistan), Raghu is a civil engineer graduate who started photography at the age of 23. From 1966 to 1976, he worked for ‘The Statesman’ newspaper as their chief photographer. Then, from 1977 to 1980, he was the Picture Editor with ‘Sunday’, a weekly news magazine. From 1982, Rai worked as Picture Editor-Visualiser-Photographer of India Today for nearly a decade.

In 1972, Rai was awarded the ‘Padmashree’ for the body of works he produced on Bangladesh refugees, the war and its surrender.
Impressed by Rai’s exhibition at Gallery Delpire, Paris, legendary photographer Henri Cartier Bresson nominated him to Magnum Photos. In 1977, Rai joined Magnum photos, the world’s most prestigious photographer’s cooperative.

In 1992, he was awarded “Photographer of the Year” in the United States. His photo essays have appeared in many of the national and international publications including Time, Life, The New York Times, Sunday The Times-London, Vogue, GQ, the New Yorker among many others. He has also served as a jury for World Press Photo Contest.

Over the period of fifty years, Raghu Rai has worked on themes ranging from political to social. Through his lenses, he has contributed powerful picture essays and documents. He has published more 55 books and continues to work on more.

Raghu Rai is our Xpert on photography. Find out more about him, his stories, inspiration, tips and tricks and even ask him a question directly! Xpert is an online Q&A platform where you can ask questions and connect to your idols. Sign up today and ask your first question!