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PHOTOGRAPHY: Raghu Rai, India's leading photographer

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SAJA.org presents a conversation with one of the world's most influential photographers. India's most pre-eminent photographer, whose prolific and internationally acclaimed career has spanned nearly half a century, Raghu Rai (b. 1942) has focused on candid snapshots of India that masterfully capture the country's continuing regional, cultural, and political transformations. Nominated to the world's most prestigious photographers cooperative, Magnum Photos, by the legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, his work challenges viewers to confront a country where temporalities merge people, objects and animals, and buildings collide in a majestic visual symphony. His classic images are extracted from a complex external reality such that, in Raghu Rai's words, "In the course of my work, I find that I have been moving to focus on the changing equations of our times, trying to record the deeper universal human responses to realities, to energy, to the spirit." In recognition of his lifetime achievements behind the camera, Rai was awarded the Padamshree, one of India's greatest civilian honors, and L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France's recognition of significant contributions to the arts. NYC's Aicon Gallery is currently presenting a selection of Raghu Rai's works chronicling a changing India from the 1970's onwards, including his most recent emphasis incorporating staged compositions, all of which culminate in one of the most comprehensive retrospectives of the artist's work held in the United States to date. He'll be interviewed SAJA's Aseem Chhabra and photojournalist Preston Merchant and be joined by Prajit Dutta of Aicon Gallery. Details of the show, which runs through March 19, along with 48 web photos at http://bit.ly/raghurai2

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