Raghu Rai (born in December 1942) qualified as civil engineer, started photography at the age of 23 in 1965. He joined The Statesman newspaper as their chief photographer (1966 to 1976), and was then Picture Editor with Sunday—a weekly news magazine published from Calcutta (1977 to 1980).
In 1971, impressed by Rai’s exhibition at Gallery Delpire, Paris, the legendary photographer Henri Cartier Bresson nominated him to Magnum Photos, the world’s most prestigious photographer’s cooperative which Rai could start only in 1977, Rai took over as Picture Editor-Visualiser- Photographer of India Today, India’s leading news magazine in its formative years. He worked on special issues and designs, contributing trailblazing picture essays on social, political and cultural themes of the decade (1982 to 1991).
He was awarded the ‘Padmashree’ in 1972 for the body of works he produced on Bangladesh refugees, the war and its surrender. In 1992 he was awarded “Photographer of the Year” in the United States for the story “Human Management of Wildlife in India” published in National Geographic. In 2009 he was conferred Officier des Arts et des Lettres by French Government.
His photo essays have appeared in many of the world’s leading magazines and newspapers - including Time, Life, GEO, Le Figaro, Le Monde, Die Welt, The New York Times, Sunday The Times-London, Newsweek, Vogue, GQ, D magazine, Marie Claire, The Independent and the New Yorker. He has been an adjudicator for World Press Photo Contest, Amsterdam and UNESCO’s International Photo Contest for many times.
Currently, Raghu Rai lives in New Delhi and is working on his 57th book.