The Stuff of Legend

“Their passion for photography was only exceeded by their hunger to learn.”

“Their passion for photography was only exceeded by their hunger to learn.”

Raghu Rai, one of the greatest legends in Indian street and documentary photography, in a candid confession, said, “I have often laid down at night with the helplessness of a man who has done little, with the knowledge that he cannot do enough now. But sometimes, I also awaken and see the world in a new light.”

Prabuddha Dasgupta questioned conventional notions by asking, “Why does photography always have to be about something specific? Isn’t this language capable of transcending the subject and focusing on something bigger than itself?” British-born Clare Arni, who has spent most of her life in India, pointed out, “When you put good photography in the public domain, you have to be answerable for it.” Amit Mehra, speaking on his journey with photography in Kashmir, said, “Strangely enough, walking into uncertainty is the most fantastic thing you can do. It gives you a chance to question your motives, reasons and most importantly, your visual language.” World Press Photo award winner Swapan Parekh stated, “A lot of people know how to look through a viewfinder, but seeing can take years.” Famed photojournalist Pablo Bartholomew concluded, “You say you are confused. Use this confusion. May there be some churning. Perhaps, then it will help you find the light.”

Over the past few days, some of the greatest legends in photography came together at the Delhi Photo Festival 2011. They questioned, commented, advised and stated truths as they saw them. Their presence at the event from morning to night showed that their passion for photography was only exceeded by their hunger to learn. Never before has there been such a platform for the student of photography to openly interact with these stalwarts. For those of you who missed DPF, it will return in two years. In the meanwhile, catch the December issue of Better Photography for a list of quotes by these legends.

This article originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: Prabuddha Dasgupta, Delhi Photo Festival 2011, Raghu Rai, December 2011, K Madhavan, Clare Arni, Photograhy quotes, Advice, indian photography