28 July, 2021

Prisms Of Imagination

Raghubir Singh's retrospective showcases his self-realised vision - an India in living colour

Prisms Of Imagination
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

IN 1975, Raghubir Singh, then a young Indian photographer taut with the excitement of first success, already sure of his gift but still uncertain of his art, went to meet Henri Cartier-Bresson, the reigning icon of modernist photography in Paris. Bresson was Singh's hero: a magic lens he had followed hungrily. Singh had discovered Beautiful Jaipur, a little known book published by Bresson in 49, as a schoolboy and had stoked his fire with it for years. Now he was to present Bresson with his own first two books. It was to be a grand moment of reckoning: the general would salute the footsoldier. But Bresson, intrinsically scornful of colour photography, barely flicked a page before pushing the books aside. Crushed, Singh redid his works. Today, 23 years later, the neuroses have been ironed out; the hero has fallen. As 56-year-old Singh sits talking about his oeuvre on the eve of his retrospective which starts on February 5 at the NGMA, Delhi, but has already been shown at the Bon Marche in Paris and the Art Institute of Chicago Bresson is but a passing mention: I wouldn't even...

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