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 for him this 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 as he was by modernism, he liberally took inspiration from Rajasthani miniatures as well as Mughal paintings, and Bengal, a place where he felt the fusion of western modernist ideas and vernacular Indian art took place for the first time, evident in practitioners of the Bengal school, and also the humanism of the 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 the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, amongst others.
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Singh photographed the Ganges River in India rom 1965 to 1969. In 1967, he became a freelance photographer, and from 1973 to 1975, he photographed in the Rajasthan State in Northern India. He later became a freelance photographer, working in Paris and New Dehli from 1975. He has published over a dozen books of photographs of his homeland.
Artist, Photojournalist, Photographer
Raghubir Singh
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License