Dr. Avnish Jolly, Chandigarh, 5th October, 2008 :Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi organized two day photography workshop under the guidance of world famous Master lensman Raghu Rai for the students of the Art of photography, media photographers and Photo Journalists from October 4 and 5, 2008 at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10C, Chandigarh. On this occasion Raghu Rai books were displayed and some of his recent books were available for sale with his Autographs. A limited edition reproduction of one of Mr. Raghu Rai’s photographs, with his original signatures, was also available on sale on this occasion.
In an interaction and slide show at Government Museum and Art Gallery- Sector 10, people of Chandigarh were exposed to some of the distinguished works of Raghu Rai. “Art is not beauty, it is expression and exploration. It is meant to take you higher than from where you are at present,” says the man best known for his captures of the Bhopal gas tragedy, Mother Teresa and Indira Gandhi. Raghu Rai during this workshop shared his experiences with around 60 amateur and professional photographers from the tricity. He interacted with students of photography and also reviews their work. Rai showed photos from his 40-year career and talked about the art, science and philosophy of his work. "The important thing is your first impression of a place or person; you must capture and retain that. Follow your instinct, a photograph not born of instinct is just information," he stressed. Digital technology has given photographers a great edge of rectification. "Like a painter, you can see your work as it progresses and correct your course," he elaborated. He said it was hard to take a good colour photograph: "Colour adds visual impact, noise and emotional response. People find it easier to appreciate a black and white photo as the mind is lazy and doesn’t want to interpret colours and emotions at a same time."
Rai urged young photographers to find new paths. "You need to be serious more than 100% to do any kind of photography. Carry your camera everywhere and shoot pictures day in and day out. That’s the best way to become a photographer," he advised. Rai commented that photography today is facing a lot of repetition. "Leave behind the pictures you have seen a thousand times before. For those who search with truthfulness, honesty and sincerity, nature has tremendous treasures for you to explore."
“Landscapes are good but nature will give you something very beautiful. Explore the paths around you. If you are a young college student go capture the energy. Good photography cannot happen sitting down at the same place.” Rai sees himself as a street photographer and incidentally it was not photography but music that Rai was interested in. “But after my father’s scolding ‘Mirasi banega kya?’ it became history!” So the first shot happened with a camera borrowed from his brother. “I chased an innocent looking donkey till it got tired. The shot was good to be published in London Times and the return was enough for two months!” And for those still stepping into the field Rai’s advise is “don’t always follow the intellect, if you don’t enjoy the ‘RAS’ of life then it’s a waste. Live completely, be passionate about what you do and keep raising the bar” So is he planning to take on the teacher’s role? “I’m quite mismanaged, teaching requires discipline and different bent of mind. Students of Art of photography, media photography and Photo Journalists do come to me for a month or as long as six months but after the training they lose all that they have learnt. Now I only take up those students who have the spark to make a difference.”