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Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Raghu Rai on Street Photography

I have been asking people what makes for success - and been getting great answers that will go up in a post next week.
Earlier in the week, I interviewed Raghu Rai for a piece in next month's BJP (he is a lovely man - I started off calling him Raghu and by the end of the interview I was calling him Mr Rai - but in a good way). He has done loads of amazing work, both street work and photojournalist and documentary work (the top picture is from Bhopal, the world's worst industrial disaster and greatest corporate evasion of responsibility ever). We talked about many things, but this is what he said about success.

“If people can connect with my pictures and enjoy them that is enough for me. It’s like you are walking down the street and you smile at someone and they smile back. There is nothing given and nothing taken. It is just like a little nudge, a recognition of humanity and life. That is what photography means to me. It is my profession, it is my religion, it is my karma, it is my life.”

He also mentioned this poem and that photographs are like children - with a life of their own.

On Children

 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

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