Preserving the past for the future

Candid Shots

A special preview of Raghu Rai’s ‘Divine Moments’, a collection of some of the photographs shot by him across the country, was exhibited at Tasveer, Sua House recently. While some of these pictures were captured when the country was at the helm of something important, others captured the beauty of the moment.

Photographs like former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s silhouette amidst the Himalayas: and the Babri Masjid, a day before its demolition gave an insight into the past. His documentation of cities like Kolkata and Delhi were widely publicised in the exhibition and many photographs of these two cities were put up.

Visitors to the exhibition included budding photographers, those who were interested in the work of Raghu Rai and those who were

admirers of the ace photographer. Raghu Rai, however disappointed many who were eagerly waiting to meet him, as he was not present at the event.

“I was hoping to meet him and get some tips regarding photography. I am a novice and really admire his work. His composition of a photograph is amazing and one needs to really notice the small things that he incorporated in the picture to understand the true essence of his work,” says Avinash, a visitor.

What was interesting was the small notes that he left at the bottom of the picture. These gave the visitors an idea about how and under what circumstance the picture was taken and the kind of nostalgia attached to the picture. For instance, a photograph of a black bird surrounded by some sparrows picking on grains left in the sun, had a small note beneath.

It talked about Rai’s experience as to how he felt the frame was incomplete when out of nowhere, a black bird came in and sat in the centre while the other birds made way for it.

The picture taken a day before the Babri Masjid demolition, portrays the peace and calm in the area. A photograph of workers building a skyscraper in Delhi shows a man standing at the edge of an incomplete skyscraper while two others hand him the raw materials. A beautiful shot of a child hugging Mother Teresa was touching.

Rai’s pictures evoked nostalgia and captured joy, sorrow, fantasy, humility and humanity.

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